Rapid acidification of the ocean during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

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doi: 10.1126/science.1109004
Author(s): Zachos, James C.; Röhl, Ursula; Schellenberg, Stephen A.; Sluijs, Appy; Hodell, David A.; Kelly, Daniel C.; Thomas, Ellen; Nicolo, Micah; Raffi, Isabella; Lourens, Lucas J.; McCarren, Heather; Kroon, Dick
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
University of California at Santa Cruz, Earth Sciences Department, Santa Cruz, CA, United States
University of Bremen, Federal Republic of Germany
San Diego State University, United States
Utrecht University, Netherlands
University of Florida, United States
University of Wisconsin at Madison, United States
Wesleyan University, United States
Rice University, United States
Universitario G. D'Annunzio, Italy
Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands
Volume Title: Science
Source: Science, 308(5728), p.1611-1615. Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC, United States. ISSN: 0036-8075 CODEN: SCIEAS
Note: In English. 39 refs.; illus.
Summary: The Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) has been attributed to the rapid release of ∼2000 × 109 metric tons of carbon in the form of methane. In theory, oxidation and ocean absorption of this carbon should have lowered deep-sea pH, thereby triggering a rapid (<10,000-year) shoaling of the calcite compensation depth (CCD), followed by gradual recovery. Here we present geochemical data from five new South Atlantic deep-sea sections that constrain the timing and extent of massive sea-floor carbonate dissolution coincident with the PETM. The sections, from between 2.7 and 4.8 kilometers water depth, are marked by a prominent clay layer, the character of which indicates that the CCD shoaled rapidly (<10,000 years) by more than 2 kilometers and recovered gradually (>100,000 years). These findings indicate that a large mass of carbon (>2000 × 109 metric tons of carbon) dissolved in the ocean at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary and that permanent sequestration of this carbon occurred through silicate weathering feedback.
Year of Publication: 2005
Research Program: DSDP Deep Sea Drilling Project
IPOD International Phase of Ocean Drilling
ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 12 Stratigraphy, Historical Geology and Paleoecology; Acidification; Aliphatic hydrocarbons; Alkanes; Atlantic Ocean; C-13/C-12; Carbon; Carbonate compensation depth; Cenozoic; Deep Sea Drilling Project; Eocene; Hydrocarbons; IPOD; Isotope ratios; Isotopes; Leg 208; Leg 74; Marine environment; Methane; Ocean Drilling Program; Organic compounds; PETM; Paleo-oceanography; Paleocene; Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum; Paleoclimatology; Paleoenvironment; Paleogene; Paleotemperature; Sea-surface temperature; South Atlantic; Stable isotopes; Tertiary
Coordinates: S301000 S280000 E0031000 E0014500
S290000 S270000 E0030000 E0013000
Record ID: 2005048043
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