Rethinking Controls on the Long-Term Cenozoic Carbonate Compensation Depth: Case Studies across Late Paleocene - Early Eocene Warming and Late Eocene - Early Oligocene Cooling

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Sarah E Greene1, Andy John Ridgwell2, Daniela N Schmidt3, Sandra Kirtland Turner1, Heiko Paelike4 and Ellen Thomas5,6, (1)University of Bristol, School of Geographical Sciences, Bristol, United Kingdom, (2)University of Bristol, School of Geographical Sciences, Bristol, BS8, United Kingdom, (3)University of Bristol, School of Earth Sciences, Bristol, United Kingdom, (4)MARUM - University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany, (5)Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, United States, (6)Yale University, New Haven, CT, United States
The carbonate compensation depth (CCD) is the depth below which negligible calcium carbonate is preserved in marine sediments. The long-term position of the CCD is often considered to be a powerful constraint on palaeoclimate and atmospheric CO2 concentration due to the requirement that carbonate burial balance riverine weathering over long timescales. The requirement that weathering and burial be in balance is clear, but it is less certain that burial compensates for changes in weathering via shoaling or deepening of the CCD. Because most carbonate burial occurs well above the CCD , changes in weathering fluxes may be primarily accommodated by increasing or decreasing carbonate burial at shallower depths, i.e., at or near the lysocline, the depth range over which carbonate dissolution markedly increases. Indeed, recent earth system modelling studies have suggested that the position of the CCD is relatively insensitive to changes in atmospheric pCO2. Additionally, studies have questioned the nature and strength of the relationship between the CCD, carbonate saturation state in the water column, and lysocline. To test the relationship between palaeoclimate and the location of the CCD, we reconstructed the global, long-term CCD behaviour across major Cenozoic climate transitions: the late Paleocene - early Eocene long-term warming trend (study interval ~58 to 49 Ma) and the late Eocene - early Oligocene cooling and glaciation (study interval ~38 to 27 Ma). We use Earth system modelling (GENIE) to explore the links between atmospheric pCO2 and the CCD, isolating and teasing apart the roles of total dissolved inorganic carbon, temperature, circulation, and productivity in determining the CCD.