Prevailing oxic environments in the Pacific Ocean during the mid-Cretaceous Oceanic anoxic event 2

Nat Commun. 2011;2:234. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1233.


The occurrence of Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE2) 94 million years ago is considered to be one of the largest carbon cycle perturbations in the Earth's history. The marked increase in the spatial extent of the anoxic conditions in the world's oceans associated with OAE2 resulted in the mass accumulation of organic-rich sediments. Although extensive oceanographic studies of OAE2 have been undertaken in the Atlantic Ocean, the Tethys Sea, and the epicontinental seas of Europe and America, little is known about OAE2 in the Pacific Ocean. Here, we present high-resolution carbon-isotope and degree of pyritization (DOP) data from marine sequences that formed along the continental margins of North America and Asia below the northeastern and northwestern Pacific Ocean. The predominance of low DOP values in these areas revealed that the continental margins of the Pacific Ocean were oxic for most of the OAE2 interval.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Asia
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Carbon Cycle
  • Carbon Isotopes / chemistry
  • Europe
  • Fossils*
  • Geologic Sediments*
  • Geological Phenomena*
  • North America
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Pacific Ocean


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Oxygen