Global synchronous changes in the carbon isotopic composition of carbonate sediments unrelated to changes in the global carbon cycle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations

Abstract

The carbon isotopic (δ13C) composition of bulk carbonate sediments deposited off the margins of four carbonate platforms/ramp systems (Bahamas, Maldives, Queensland Plateau, and Great Australian Bight) show synchronous changes over the past 0 to 10 million years. However, these variations are different from the established global pattern in the δ13C measured in the open oceans over the same time period. For example, from 10 Ma to the present, the δ13C of open oceanic carbonate has decreased, whereas platform margin sediments analyzed here show an increase. It is suggested that the δ13C patterns in the marginal platform deposits are produced through admixing of aragonite-rich sediments, which have relatively positive δ13C values, with pelagic materials, which have lower δ13C values. As the more isotopically positive shallow-water carbonate sediments are only produced when the platforms are flooded, there is a connection between changes in global sea level and the δ13C of sediments in marginal settings. These data indicate that globally synchronous changes in δ13C can take place that are completely unrelated to variations in the global carbon cycle. Fluctuations in the δ13C of carbonate sediments measured during previous geological periods may also be subject to similar processes, and global synchroniety of δ13C can no longer necessarily be considered an indicator that such changes are related to, or caused by, variations in the burial of organic carbon. Inferences regarding the interpretation of changes in the cycling of organic carbon derived from δ13C records should be reconsidered in light of the findings presented here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13741-13745
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume105
Issue number37
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 16 2008

Keywords

  • Isotope
  • Organics
  • Shallow-water platform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Global synchronous changes in the carbon isotopic composition of carbonate sediments unrelated to changes in the global carbon cycle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this