Miocene restriction of the Pacific-North Atlantic throughflow strengthened Atlantic overturning circulation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Export of warm and salty waters from the Caribbean to the North Atlantic is an essential component of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). However, there was also an active AMOC during the Miocene, despite evidence for an open Central American Seaway (CAS) that would have allowed low-salinity Pacific waters to enter the Caribbean. To address this apparent contradiction and to constrain the timing of CAS closure we present the first continuous Nd isotope record of intermediate waters in the Florida Strait over the past 12.5 million years. Our results indicate that there was no direct intermediate water mass export from the Caribbean to the Florida Strait between 11.5 and 9.5 Ma, at the same time as a strengthened AMOC. After 9 Ma a strong AMOC was maintained due to a major step in CAS closure and the consequent cessation of low-salinity Pacific waters entering the Caribbean.


External organisations
  • GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geochemistry
  • Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Original languageEnglish
Article number4025
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sep 6
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes