Global Ocean Sedimentation Patterns: Plate Tectonic History Versus Climate Change

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Evan Reynolds1, Arghya Goswami1, Peter Olson1, Linda A Hinnov1 and Anand Gnanadesikan2, (1)Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States, (2)Johns Hopkins Univ-EPS, Baltimore, MD, United States
Global sediment data (Whittaker et al., 2013) and carbonate content data (Archer, 1996) allows examination of ocean sedimentation evolution with respect to age of the underlying ocean crust (Müller et al., 2008). From these data, we construct time series of ocean sediment thickness and carbonate deposition rate for the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian ocean basins for the past 120 Ma. These time series are unique to each basin and reflect an integrated response to plate tectonics and climate change. The goal is to parameterize ocean sedimentation tied to crustal age for paleoclimate studies. For each basin, total sediment thickness and carbonate deposition rate from 0.1 x 0.1 degree cells are binned according to basement crustal age; area-corrected moments (mean, variance, etc.) are calculated for each bin. Segmented linear fits identify trends in present-day carbonate deposition rates and changes in ocean sedimentation from 0 to 120 Ma.

In the North and South Atlantic and Indian oceans, mean sediment thickness versus crustal age is well represented by three linear segments, with the slope of each segment increasing with increasing crustal age. However, the transition age between linear segments varies among the three basins. In contrast, mean sediment thickness in the North and South Pacific oceans are numerically smaller and well represented by two linear segments with slopes that decrease with increasing crustal age. These opposing trends are more consistent with the plate tectonic history of each basin being the controlling factor in sedimentation rates, rather than climate change. Unlike total sediment thickness, carbonate deposition rates decrease smoothly with crustal age in all basins, with the primary controls being ocean chemistry and water column depth.

Archer, D., 1996, Global Biogeochem. Cycles 10, 159-174.
Müller, R.D., et al., 2008, Science, 319, 1357-1362.
Whittaker, J., et al., 2013, Geochem., Geophys., Geosyst. DOI: 10.1002/ggge.20181