Global Quaternary Carbonate Burial: Proxy- and Model-Based Reconstructions and Persisting Uncertainties

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Ocean Science and Engineering


Constraining rates of marine carbonate burial through geologic time is critical for interpreting reconstructed changes in ocean chemistry and understanding feedbacks and interactions between Earth's carbon cycle and climate. The Quaternary Period (the past 2.6 million years) is of particular interest due to dramatic variations in sea level that periodically exposed and flooded areas of carbonate accumulation on the continental shelf, likely impacting the global carbonate budget and atmospheric carbon dioxide. These important effects remain poorly quantified. Here, we summarize the importance of carbonate burial in the ocean–climate system, review methods for quantifying carbonate burial across depositional environments, discuss advances in reconstructing Quaternary carbonate burial over the past three decades, and identify gaps and challenges in reconciling the existing records. Emerging paleoceanographic proxies such as the stable strontium and calcium isotope systems, as well as innovative modeling approaches, are highlighted as new opportunities to produce continuous records of global carbonate burial.

Publication Title

Annual Review of Marine Science



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