Paleoenvironmental change recorded in submarine fans: the Eocene-Oligocene climate transition in the Alpine foreland basin

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 1 of this Preprint.


Download Preprint

Supplementary Files

Euan Soutter , Ian Kane, Ander Martínez-Doñate, Adrian Boyce, Jack Stacey, Sébastien Castelltort 


The Eocene-Oligocene transition (EOT) was a period of considerable environmental change, signifying the transition from Paleocene greenhouse to Oligocene icehouse conditions. Preservation of the sedimentary signal of such an environmental change is most likely in net-depositional environments, such as submarine fans, which are the terminal parts of sedimentary systems. Here, using sedimentological and stable isotope data from the Alpine foreland basin, we assess whether this major climatic transition influenced the stratigraphic evolution of submarine fans. Results indicate that submarine fan retreat in the Alpine foreland basin corresponds with positive δ13C excursions related to major global perturbations of the carbon cycle and cooling in the earliest Oligocene. Submarine fan retreat is suggested to be influenced by this cooling through enhanced aridity and reduced subaerial runoff from the Corsica-Sardinia hinterland. The influence of aridity was periodically overwhelmed by local environmental factors, such as hinterland uplift, which increased sediment supply to deep-water during arid periods. These results highlight that: 1) hinterland climate may play a greater role than sea-level in dictating sediment supply to deep-water and, 2) submarine fan evolution occurs through a complex interplay between climate, eustasy and tectonics, which makes robust interpretations of paleoenvironmental change from their stratigraphic record, without multi-proxy records, difficult.



Earth Sciences, Geology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Sedimentology


submarine fan, sedimentology, deep-water, stable isotopes, Alpine foreland


Published: 2021-06-29 12:18

Last Updated: 2021-06-29 15:18


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Conflict of interest statement:

Data Availability (Reason not available):

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.