Study finds giant clam shell fossils may be a good source of ‘paleoclimate’ data

A new study suggests that fossils of giant clam shells found in the Western Pacific may be a good source of “paleoclimate” data,media New Atlas reported. It is well known that molluscs deposit well-defined growth bands in their shells every day, such as tree wheels in tree trunks. Under Professor Yan Hong’s leadership, scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences first obtained relatively new fossils of the unrigid giant clam shells.

Study finds giant clam shell fossils may be a good source of 'paleoclimate' data

By analyzing these growth zones, the researchers were able to determine how the weather changed each day. For example, on a day when historical weather records show edging up the giant clams, the relatively narrow growth zone indicates that growth was slowed by bad weather that day.

Study finds giant clam shell fossils may be a good source of 'paleoclimate' data

In addition, because cyclones bring nutrient-rich water from deep to the surface, the stormy day growth zone has a correspondingly high iron/calcium ratio. And because the rise of nutrients also causes a large number of phytoplankton reproduction, so these growth zones also have a strong fluorescence intensity.

Now researchers hope to analyze fossilized shells in the same way to determine weather patterns dating back 65 million years or more.

Scientists recently published a paper on the study in the journal PNAS.