Paleoelevation records from lipid biomarkers: Application to the tropical Andes

Veronica J. Anderson, Joel E Saylor, Timothy M. Shanahan, Brian K. Horton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

New results from two novel lipid bio-marker-based proxies help to constrain the late Cenozoic surface elevation history of the Eastern Cordillera in the tropical northern Andes of Colombia. Previous well-known studies have suggested rapid latest Miocene-Pliocene (6-3 Ma) uplift on the basis of an abrupt shift in pollen species assemblages within sedimentary basin fill of the elevated Bogotá Plateau. From resampling of these original study localities, we provide a re-vised chronology based on magnetic polarity stratigraphy, and we evaluate paleotempera-tures using the MBT'/CBT indices (meth-ylation of branched tetraethers/cyclization of branched tetraethers) and hydrogen iso-topic composition (dD) of leaf waxes as two independent proxies of past surface eleva-tion. Reconstructed paleotemperatures from the MBT'/CBT proxy show a more gradual cooling trend from ca. 7.6 Ma to present, consistent with less than 1000 m of elevation gain since latest Miocene-Pliocene time and in agreement with geologic evidence for ac-celerated shortening and exhumation at this time. The leaf wax isotopic data, on the other hand, lack a systematic trend, potentially due to fractionation changes associated with uplift-induced turnover in floral populations. Such changes could obscure isotopic varia-tions in meteoric water, suggesting that leaf-wax isotopic compositions may not provide a direct proxy for elevation in this particular situation involving uplift in a heterogeneous tropical environment. More promising in this case is the MBT'/CBT proxy, which may offer a suitable alternative to carbonate-based paleo elevation proxies in tropical re-gions where year-round high precipitation rates prevent formation of soil carbonates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1604-1616
Number of pages13
JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of America
Volume127
Issue number11-12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

biomarker
wax
lipid
uplift
Pliocene
Miocene
carbonate
tropical environment
basin fill
paleotemperature
meteoric water
cordillera
exhumation
sedimentary basin
chronology
turnover
isotopic composition
stratigraphy
pollen
fractionation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

Cite this

Paleoelevation records from lipid biomarkers : Application to the tropical Andes. / Anderson, Veronica J.; Saylor, Joel E; Shanahan, Timothy M.; Horton, Brian K.

In: Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, Vol. 127, No. 11-12, 2015, p. 1604-1616.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Anderson, Veronica J. ; Saylor, Joel E ; Shanahan, Timothy M. ; Horton, Brian K. / Paleoelevation records from lipid biomarkers : Application to the tropical Andes. In: Bulletin of the Geological Society of America. 2015 ; Vol. 127, No. 11-12. pp. 1604-1616.
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