Thesis defense: Graduate and postdoctoral studies earth science

Speaker: Lizette Leon-Rodriguez, Doctoral Candidate

Constraints on Ocean Acidification Associated with Rapid and Massive Carbon Injections of the Early Paleogene: The Geological Record at Ocean Drilling Program Site 1215, Equatorial Pacific Ocean

Friday, August 26, 2011
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

123 Keith-Wiess Geological Laboratories

Massive amounts of 13C-depleted carbon rapidly entered the ocean more than once during the early Paleogene, providing a geological framework for understanding future perturbations in carbon cycling, including ocean acidification. To assess the number of events and their impact on deep-sea carbonate accumulation, I have studied carbonate ooze units of the upper Paleocene–lower Eocene, which were deposited on a subsiding flank of the East Pacific Rise (ODP Site 1215). From this record several proxies were used to ascertain changes in carbonate dissolution: carbonate content, foraminiferal test fragmentation, and planktic/benthic foraminiferal ratio. Based on these analyses, I observe that carbonate preservation generally increased from the late Paleocene (56 Ma) through the early Eocene (51.5 Ma), after which it became poor to negligible. This trend was punctuated by four short-term intervals characterized by carbonate dissolution and pronounced negative d18O and d13C excursions. It is inferred that these were anomalously warm periods (hyperthermals) caused by massive and relative fast 13C-depleted carbon injections. These correspond to the PETM (~55.5 Ma), H1/ETM-2 (~53.7 Ma), I1 (~53.2 Ma), and K/X (~52.5 Ma) events. iii I also calculated carbonate, planktic, and benthic foraminiferal mass accumulation rates for the Site 1215. These were used to comprehensively examine the history of carbonate accumulation in the equatorial Pacific Ocean throughout the early Paleogene. I deduce that in the long-term (>105 yr) the lysocline and calcite compensation depth (CCD) generally deepened between 55.4 and 51.5 Ma; but rapidly (=105 yr) shoaled and subsequently overcompensated during and after the four intervals of massive carbon injection. Planktic foraminiferal assemblages found in the record of Site 1215 follow a predicted pattern for selective dissolution. Species of Acarinina are preferentially preserved over Morozovella, which are preferentially preserved over Subbotina, Igorina and Globanomalina. A tiny and previously overlooked species, Praetenuitella antica n.sp, is formally described in this manuscript. This species is also resistant to dissolution. The findings of this study provide firm constraints to model the short and longterm carbon cycle dynamics during the early Paleogene

Events at Rice. Web site.

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