Deep-sea sediment core

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

Deep sea sediment core model in the Hall of Planet Earth AMNH/D. Finnin

Walvis Ridge, southern Atlantic Ocean | circa 55–56 million years ago

The abrupt shift from light tan to dark sediment in the core modeled here shows a rapid increase in atmospheric COduring an event called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. Lighter layers, laid down before COrose, contain shells from sea life. Darker layers mark when elevated COraised ocean acidity, dissolving shells before they could reach the seafloor.

Courtesy of the International Ocean Discovery Program, JOIDES Resolution Science Operator