Sedimentation rates and growth potential of tropical, cool-water and mud-mound carbonate systems

W. Schlager

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Carbonate fixation in the ocean proceeds in three basic modes: abiotically, biotically induced (with organic trigger), and biotically controlled (where organisms determine timing, location and composition of the product). The three modes combine in a variety of ways to produce carbonate sediment. When viewed on the scale of formations and global facies belts, three benthic carbonate production systems, or factories, emerge: (1) the tropical shallow-water system, dominated by biotically controlled (mainly photoautotrophic) and abiotic precipitates: (2) the cool-water system, dominated by biotically controlled (mainly heterotrophic) precipitates; and (3) the mud-mound system, dominated by abiotic and biotically induced (mainly microbial) precipitates. The sedimentation rates of all three factories decrease as the time span of observation increases. This scaling trend is not just an artifact of ratio correlation: it is almost certainly related to the episodic, pulsating nature of sedimentation. The growth potential of the three systems can be estimated by drawing the envelope of the maximum observed rates of aggradation. The tropical system shows the highest rates: 10
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)217-227
    JournalJournal of the Geological Society (London)
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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