Summary

Introduction


Early Cretaceous


Mid-Cretaceous



Late Cretaceous



Palaeontological
Evidence



Sedimentological
Evidence



Isotope Evidence



Summary



Glossary



Further Reading



Climate Change Home Page



KT Event Links



Back to
Bristol Palaeontology
Homepage


Summary


The figure below summarises the change in Climate throughout the Cretaceous Period.

Climate was warm in the Early Cretaceous and gradually became cooler into the Mid-Cretaceous. The coolest time was in the Albian Age, 105 Ma ago. There was a relatively rapid increase in temperature at the beginning of the Late Cretaceous. Throughout this time it fluctuated gently about a relatively warm average climate, much warmer than todays. This climate is thought to have been far more equable than the present day.

At the end of the Maastrichtian, global temperature fell relatively quickly. There is also evidence for a Late Maastrichtian warming trend (66.9-66.6 Ma ago).

The Late Cretaceous culminated with an 'impact winter' at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. This is supported by suggestion of a cyclic disruption of global climate, thermal and ocean systems at 26 -30 Ma intervals due to some extraterrestrial forcing mechanisms that accelerated the meteorite impact on Earth.

Sea level appears to have fluctuated more abruptly than climate (however, this trend could be due to there being more data available for palaeo sea levels than climate). A gradual rise in the Early Cretaceous was followed by considerable fluctuations throughout the Mid-Cretaceous. It is seen to have followed a similar trend to climate during the Late Cretaceous with a rapid fall in sea level associated with a rapid cooling of the climate.

Volcanism increased in intensity throughout the Early and Mid-Cretaceous and hit a peak at a time of the coolest climate. A gradual decline in magmatic activity followed through the Late Cretaceous.


 


 

| Intro | Early Cretaceous | Mid-Cretaceous | Late Cretaceous |

| Palaeontological Evidence | Sedimentological Evidence | Isotope Evidence |

| Summary | Glossary | Further Reading | Climate Change Home Page | KT Event Links | Back to Bristol Palaeontology Homepage |