Florisphaera profunda and the origin and diagenesis of carbonate phases in eastern Mediterranean sapropel units

Thomson, J.; Crudeli, D.; de Lange, J.G.; Slomp, C.P.; Erba, E.; Corselli, C.; Calvert, S.E.. 2004 Florisphaera profunda and the origin and diagenesis of carbonate phases in eastern Mediterranean sapropel units. Paleoceanography, 19 (3). PA3003.

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High relative concentrations of the lower photic zone nannofossil Florisphaera profunda have been reported in all recent eastern Mediterranean sapropels. In the most recent sapropel (S1), high bulk sediment Sr/Ca ratios occur along with high F. profunda contents toward the base of the unit, exemplified here in four cores from 1.5–3.5 km water depth. Co-occurring biogenic carbonates contain insufficient Sr to account for these high Sr concentrations, and X-ray diffraction and selective leaching show that the high Sr/Ca ratios are due to aragonite, the CaCO3 polymorph that is rarely preserved in deep marine sediments, with ∼1 wt % Sr. The possible sources of this aragonite include (1) precipitation with surface ocean production, (2) detrital input from shallow-water sediments by high continental runoff, or (3) postdepositional diagenetic formation driven by increased pore water alkalinity resulting from sulphate reduction. The third formation mechanism for the aragonite is favored, in which case the similarity in the positions of the aragonite and F. profunda abundance maxima in sapropels is probably related to Corg accumulation and resulting sulphide diagenesis that produces high pore water alkalinity. There is clear micropaleontological evidence that dissolution of the less soluble biogenic low-Mg CaCO3 is occurring, or has occurred, during early diagenesis in these sediments despite the coexistence of the more soluble high-Mg calcite and aragonite polymorphs. Similar Sr/Ca maxima are also found associated with older sapropels, always located close both to local minima in surface ocean δ18O that signal maximum monsoon-driven runoff and to maxima in diagenetic sediment sulphide contents. High freshwater flows from monsoons are believed to drive eastern Mediterranean sapropel formation through water column stabilization that favors F. profunda production and later through development of deep water column dysoxia/anoxia because of reduced ventilation. The relative abundances of F. profunda are high between 5 and 11 14C kyr B.P. with a maximum at ∼9 14C kyr B.P. The surface ocean production changes marked by F. profunda therefore begin earlier and finish later than the formation of the S1 sapropel, which only develops between 6 and 10 14C kyr B.P.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Additional Keywords: sapropel, aragonite, strontium
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Date made live: 25 Oct 2004 +0 (UTC)

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