Microstructural and geochemical perspectives on planktic foraminiferal preservation; "glassy" versus "frosty"

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doi: 10.1029/2006GC001291
Author(s): Sexton, Philip F.; Wilson, Paul A.; Pearson, Paul N.
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
National Oceanography Centre, School of Ocean and Earth Science, Southampton, United Kingdom
Cardiff University, United Kingdom
Volume Title: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems - G<sup>3</sup>
Source: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems - G>3`, 7(12). Publisher: American Geophysical Union and The Geochemical Society, United States. ISSN: 1525-2027
Note: In English. 102 refs.; illus., incl. 2 tables
Summary: In recent years it has become apparent that the "cool tropic paradox" of Paleogene and Cretaceous "greenhouse" climates arises because of the diagenetic alteration of tropical planktic foraminiferal calcite near the seafloor, yielding artificially high δ18O values. Because the Mg/Ca compositions of foraminiferal and inorganic calcite are thought to be quite different, Mg/Ca measurements should be a sensitive way of monitoring diagenetic alteration. Here we examine the extent of diagenetic alteration of Eocene planktic foraminiferal calcite using scanning electron microscope imaging of foraminiferal test microstructures and geochemical (δ18O and Mg/Ca) analyses. We compare microstructural and geochemical characteristics between given species exhibiting two contrasting states of preservation: those that appear "frosty" under reflected light and those that appear "glassy." Microstructural evidence reveals extensive diagenetic alteration of frosty foraminiferal tests at the micron scale, while δ18O analyses document consistently higher δ18O (and therefore lower paleotemperatures) in this material. Yet we find that δ18O offsets between species in these frosty foraminiferal assemblages appear to be generally preserved, suggesting that frosty foraminifera remain valuable for generating relatively short (approximately ≤1 Myr) paleoceanographic time series that do not demand absolute estimates of paleotemperature. We also find that the observed increase in Mg/Ca for planktic foraminifera exhibiting diagenetic alteration (compared to glassy taphonomies) is far smaller than would be expected from the addition of inorganic calcite based on laboratory-derived Mg2+ partition coefficients. Our findings imply that a much lower Mg2+ partition coefficient controls inorganic calcite formation in deep sea sedimentary sections, in accordance with the findings of Baker et al. (1982).
Year of Publication: 2006
Research Program: ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 10 Paleontology, Invertebrate; Alkaline earth metals; Calcite; Calcium; Carbonates; Cenozoic; Chemical ratios; Cretaceous; Diagenesis; Eocene; Foraminifera; Invertebrata; Isotope ratios; Isotopes; Leg 143; Leg 171B; Magnesium; Major elements; Mesozoic; Metals; Microfossils; O-18/O-16; ODP Site 1052; ODP Site 865; Ocean Drilling Program; Oxygen; Paleoclimatology; Paleogene; Planktonic taxa; Protista; Stable isotopes; Tertiary; Trace elements; Transformations
Coordinates: N182624 N182626 W1793320 W1793321
N295705 N295705 W0763736 W0763736
Record ID: 2008081666
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