Weakening of the biological pump induced by a biocalcification crisis during the early Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Global and Planetary Change Year : 2022

Weakening of the biological pump induced by a biocalcification crisis during the early Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event

Abstract

Severe environmental changes during the early Toarcian (Early Jurassic; ∼182 Ma), comprising global warming, elevated pCO2, intensified continental weathering and a high amplitude sea level rise, led to the genesis of a Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE), expressed by the widespread occurrence of organic carbon (OC)-rich sediments (black shales) forming on anoxic epicontinental shelves.

Here, we show that during the T-OAE black shales in some depocenters have formed under rather low organic carbon accumulation rates (OCAR). We explain this observation by a reduced export efficiency of OC to the sediment, caused by a drastic decline in the abundance of mineral ballast, due to a major biocalcification crisis and the demise of calcareous nannoplankton. The reduction of mineral ballast led to slowing of the sinking speed of particulate organic matter, which thus became more prone to biodegradation. A major sea level rise, accompanying the T-OAE, was associated with retrograding shorelines and shift of depocenters away from the basin centers to more coastal areas. This might have reduced nutrient fluxes to the distal depocenters and diminished surface productivity and export flux in the central basin. Moreover, during sea level rise reduced input of clastics from adjacent landmasses may have led to a decline in organic carbon dilution. A decline in both abundance and size is documented for faecal pellets in core FR-210-078 from the Lorraine Basin, substantiating the scenario of reduced marine primary productivity and organic matter transport efficiency. Accordingly, during the T-OAE low OCAR are here interpreted to reflect a weakening of the biological pump. These new data substantiate the role of organic matter preservation as major factor controlling the formation of black shales during the T-OAE.

The Toarcian marine transgression led to an increase in the extent of shelf areas, accompanied by an expansion of oxygen-deficient conditions that favored the preservation of organic matter in shelf sediments. Consequently, despite low OCAR, net C-burial in shelf sea sediments increased during the T-OAE, which may have acted as negative feedback mechanism that caused global cooling in the aftermath of the event.

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Dates and versions

insu-03857086 , version 1 (17-11-2022)

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Wolfgang Ruebsam, Emanuela Mattioli, Lorenz Schwark. Weakening of the biological pump induced by a biocalcification crisis during the early Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event. Global and Planetary Change, 2022, 217, 338, p. 11-23. ⟨10.1016/j.gloplacha.2022.103954⟩. ⟨insu-03857086⟩
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