Aftermath of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction: possible biogeochemical stabilization of the carbon cycle and climate

K. Caldeira, Michael Rampino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the aftermath of the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary event, pelagic carbonate productivity was greatly reduced for several hundred thousand years. This decrease in the absence of some mechanism to remove excess carbonate from the ocean, should have resulted in the accumulation of carbon and alkalinity in the oceans. This would cause the atmospheric partial pressure of CO2 to fall dramatically and the deep ocean to become fully saturated with respect to calcite. Evidence of such a period of highly calcite-saturated oceans with low atmospheric pCO2 in the earliest Tertiary is lacking, suggesting that ocean chemistry may have been buffered by some process. In a four-box ocean model, as the oceanic carbonate ion concentration rises in the face of diminished pelagic carbonate accumulation, the shallow-water carbonate accumulation rate increases, compensating for the reduction in pelagic carbonate accumulation. These model results indicate that the carbonate-ion feedback on shallow-water carbonate sedimentation may have acted to balance oceanic carbon and alkalinity budgets at the K/T boundary. -from Authors

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages515-525
Number of pages11
JournalPaleoceanography
Volume8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993

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mass extinction
carbon cycle
stabilization
Cretaceous
carbonate
climate
ocean
alkalinity
shallow water
calcite
ion
carbon
partial pressure
accumulation rate
atmospheric pressure
sedimentation
productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Palaeontology

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Aftermath of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction : possible biogeochemical stabilization of the carbon cycle and climate. / Caldeira, K.; Rampino, Michael.

In: Paleoceanography, Vol. 8, No. 4, 1993, p. 515-525.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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