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Journal Article

Orbital forcing of organic carbon burial in the proto-North Atlantic during oceanic anoxic event 2


Kuypers,  M. M. M.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Kuypers, M. M. M., Lourens, L. J., Rijpstra, W. R. C., Pancost, R. D., Nijenhuis, I. A., & Damste, J. S. S. (2004). Orbital forcing of organic carbon burial in the proto-North Atlantic during oceanic anoxic event 2. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 228(3-4), 465-482.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-D0E2-4
The Cenomanian/Turonian (C/T) intervals at DSDP Sites 105 and 603B from the northern part of the proto-North Atlantic show high amplitude, short-term cyclic variations in total organic carbon (TOC) content. The more pronounced changes in TOC are also reflected by changes in lithology from green claystones (TOC<1%) to black claystones (TOC>1%). Although their depositional history was different, the individual TOC cycles at Sites 105 and 603B can be correlated using stable carbon isotope stratigraphy. Sedimentation rates obtained from the isotope stratigraphy and spectral analyses indicate that these cycles were predominately precession controlled. The coinciding variations in HI, OI, δ13Corg and the abundance of marine relative to terrestrial biomarkers, as well as the low abundance of lignin pyrolysis products generated from the kerogen of the black claystones, indicate that these cyclic variations reflect changes in the contribution of marine organic matter (OM). The cooccurrence of lamination, enrichment of redox-sensitive trace metals and presence of molecular fossils of pigments from green sulfur bacteria indicate that the northern proto-North Atlantic Ocean water column was periodically euxinic from the bottom to at least the base of the photic zone (<150 m) during the deposition of the black claystones. In contrast, the green claystones are bioturbated, are enriched in Mn, do not show enrichments in redox-sensitive trace metals and show biomarker distributions indicative of long oxygen exposure times, indicating more oxic water conditions. At the same time, there is evidence (e.g., abundance of biogenic silica and significant 13C-enrichment for OC of phytoplanktic origin) for enhanced primary productivity during the deposition of the black claystones. We propose that increased primary productivity periodically overwhelmed the oxic OM remineralisation potential of the bottom waters resulting in the deposition of OM-rich black claystones. Because the amount of oxygen used for OM remineralisation exceeded the amount supplied by diffusion and deep-water circulation, the northern proto-North Atlantic became euxinic during these periods. Both Sites 105 and 603B show trends of continually increasing TOC contents and HI values of the black claystones up section, which most likely resulted from both enhanced preservation due to increased anoxia and increased production of marine OM during oceanic anoxic event 2 (OAE2).