Records of past mid-depth ventilation: Cretaceous ocean anoxic event 2 vs. Recent oxygen minimum zones.

Schönfeld, Joachim, Kuhnt, Wolfgang, Erdem, Zeynep, Flögel, Sascha, Glock, Nicolaas, Aquit, M., Frank, Martin and Holbourn, Ann (2015) Records of past mid-depth ventilation: Cretaceous ocean anoxic event 2 vs. Recent oxygen minimum zones. Open Access Biogeosciences (BG), 12 (4). pp. 1169-1189. DOI 10.5194/bg-12-1169-2015.

bg-12-1169-2015.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (2793Kb) | Preview

Supplementary data:


Present day oceans are well ventilated, with the exception of mid-depth oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) under high surface water productivity, regions of sluggish circulation, and restricted marginal basins. In the Mesozoic, however, entire oceanic basins transiently became dysoxic or anoxic. The Cretaceous ocean anoxic events (OAEs) were characterised by laminated organic-carbon rich shales and low-oxygen indicating trace fossils preserved in the sedimentary record. Yet assessments of the intensity and extent of Cretaceous near-bottom water oxygenation have been hampered by deep or long-term diagenesis and the evolution of marine biota serving as oxygen indicators in today's ocean. Sedimentary features similar to those found in Cretaceous strata were observed in deposits underlying Recent OMZs, where bottom-water oxygen levels, the flux of organic matter, and benthic life have been studied thoroughly. Their implications for constraining past bottom-water oxygenation are addressed in this review. We compared OMZ sediments from the Peruvian upwelling with deposits of the late Cenomanian OAE 2 from the north-west African shelf. Holocene laminated sediments are encountered at bottom-water oxygen levels of < 7 μmol kg−1 under the Peruvian upwelling and < 5 μmol kg−1 in California Borderland basins and the Pakistan Margin. Seasonal to decadal changes of sediment input are necessary to create laminae of different composition. However, bottom currents may shape similar textures that are difficult to discern from primary seasonal laminae. The millimetre-sized trace fossil Chondrites was commonly found in Cretaceous strata and Recent oxygen-depleted environments where its diameter increased with oxygen levels from 5 to 45 μmol kg−1. Chondrites has not been reported in Peruvian sediments but centimetre-sized crab burrows appeared around 10 μmol kg−1, which may indicate a minimum oxygen value for bioturbated Cretaceous strata. Organic carbon accumulation rates ranged from 0.7 and 2.8 g C cm−2 kyr−1 in laminated OAE 2 sections in Tarfaya Basin, Morocco, matching late Holocene accumulation rates of laminated Peruvian sediments under Recent oxygen levels below 5 μmol kg−1. Sediments deposited at > 10 μmol kg−1 showed an inverse exponential relationship of bottom-water oxygen levels and organic carbon accumulation depicting enhanced bioirrigation and decomposition of organic matter with increased oxygen supply. In the absence of seasonal laminations and under conditions of low burial diagenesis, this relationship may facilitate quantitative estimates of palaeo-oxygenation. Similarities and differences between Cretaceous OAEs and late Quaternary OMZs have to be further explored to improve our understanding of sedimentary systems under hypoxic conditions.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000349794900016
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 754
Kiel University
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.5194/bg-12-1169-2015
ISSN: 1726-4189
Projects: SFB754
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2015 09:51
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 23:45

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...