The radiocarbon age of calcite dissolving at the sea floor: Estimates from pore water data

TitleThe radiocarbon age of calcite dissolving at the sea floor: Estimates from pore water data
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsMartin, WR, McNichol, AP, McCorkle, DC
JournalGeochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta
Date PublishedApr
Accession NumberWOS:000086442600005

We measured the radiocarbon content and stable isotopic composition of pore water and bottom water Sigma CO2, sedimentary organic carbon, and CaCO3 at two sites on the Ceara Rise, one underlying bottom water that is supersaturated with respect to calcite (Site B), the other underlying undersaturated bottom water (Site G). The results were combined with pore water O-2, Sigma CO2, and Ca2+ profiles (Martin and Sayles, 1996) to estimate the radiocarbon content of the CaCO3 that is dissolving in the sediment mixed layer. At Site G, the CaCO3 that is dissolving in the upper 2 cm of the sediments is clearly younger (richer in C-14) than the bulk sedimentary CaCO3, indicating that nonhomogeneous CaCO3 dissolution occurs there. The case for nonhomogeneous dissolution is much weaker at the site underlying supersaturated bottom water. The results indicate that nonhomogeneous dissolution occurs in sediments underlying undersaturated bottom water, that the dissolution is rapid relative to the rate of homogenization of the CaCO3 in the mixed layer by bioturbation, and that the dissolution rate of CaCO3 decreases as it ages in the sediment mixed layer. The results support the hypothesis, based on solid phase analyses, that the preferential dissolution of young (i.e., radiocarbon-rich) CaCO3 leads to a pattern of increasing radiocarbon age of mixed-layer CaCO3 as the degree of undersaturation of bottom water increases (Keir, 1984; Broecker et al., 1991). Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.