Geochemistry and sedimentation rates of ODP Leg 199 sites and of surface sediments in the eastern Pacific ocean


We present the first high-resolution organic carbon mass accumulation rate (MAR) data set for the Eocene equatorial Pacific upwelling region, from Sites 1218 and 1219 of the Ocean Drilling Program. A maximum Corg MAR anomaly appears at 41 Ma and corresponds to a high carbonate accumulation event (CAE). Independent evidence suggests that this event (CAE-3) was a time of rapid cooling. Throughout the Eocene, organic carbon burial fluxes were an order of magnitude lower than fluxes recorded for the Holocene. In contrast, the expected organic carbon flux, calculated from the biogenic barium concentrations for these sites, is roughly equal to modern. A sedimentation anomaly appears at 41 Ma, when both the measured and the expected organic carbon MAR increases by a factor of two-three relative to the background Eocene fluxes. The rain of estimated Corg and barium from the euphotic zone to the sediments increased by factors of three and six, respectively. We suggest that the discrepancy between the expected and measured Corg in the sediments is a direct consequence of the increased metabolic rates of all organisms throughout the Eocene oceans and sediments. This hypothesis is supported by recent work in ecology and biochemical kinetics that recognizes the fundamental basis of ecology as following from the laws of thermodynamics. This dependence is now elucidated as the Universal Temperature Dependence (UTD) "law" of metabolism and can be applied to all organisms over their biologically relevant temperature range. The general pattern of organic carbon and barium deposition throughout the Eocene is consistent with the UTD theory. In particular, the anomaly at 41 Ma (CAE-3) is associated with rapid cooling, an event that triggered slower metabolic rates for all organisms, slower recycling of organic carbon in the water and sediment column, and, consequently, higher deposition of organic carbon in the sediments. This "metabolism-based" scenario is consistent with the sedimentation patterns we observe for both Sites 1218 and 1219.

Supplement to: Olivarez Lyle, Annette; Lyle, Mitchell W (2005): Organic carbon and barium in Eocene sediments: Possible controls on nutrient recycling in the Eocene equatorial Pacific Ocean. In: Wilson, PA; Lyle, M; Firth, JV (eds.) Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, College Station, TX (Ocean Drilling Program), 199, 1-33

Related Identifier
Metadata Access
Creator Olivarez Lyle, Annette; Lyle, Mitchell W ORCID logo
Publisher PANGAEA
Publication Year 2005
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported;
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Supplementary Publication Series of Datasets; Collection
Format application/zip
Size 2 datasets
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (-142.016W, -17.867S, -74.345E, 19.100N); North Pacific Ocean; East Pacific; South Pacific Ocean; Equatorial East Pacific; East Pacific Ocean
Temporal Coverage Begin 1962-10-21T00:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 2001-11-23T00:00:00Z