Deepwater carbonate deposition in response to re-flooding of carbonate bank and atoll-tops at glacial terminations

Type Article
Date 2010-08
Language English
Author(s) Jorry StephanORCID1, 2, Droxler Andre W.2, Francis Jason M.2, 3
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, Dept Marine Geosci, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
2 : Rice Univ, Dept Earth Sci, Houston, TX 77051 USA.
3 : Chevron Energy Technol Co, Houston, TX 77002 USA.
Source Quaternary Science Reviews (0277-3791) (Pergamon-elsevier Science Ltd), 2010-08 , Vol. 29 , N. 17-18 , P. 2010-2026
DOI 10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.04.016
WOS© Times Cited 37
Abstract The late Quaternary has experienced large glacial/interglacial climatic variations and related 10's to 100 meters high-amplitude sea level fluctuations at Milankovich frequencies from 10's to 100 kyr during which carbonate platform tops have been exposed and re-flooded in many occasions. This study focuses on the accumulation of calci-turbidites, the aragonite onset/sharp increase in fine sediments and their timing in deep basins adjacent to carbonate platforms. A particular emphasis is developed on the occurrence of the first gravity flow event and aragonite onset/sharp increase and their linkage to the initial re-flooding of the platform tops during deglaciations. Three basins adjacent to isolated platforms in the Bahamas, the Northern Nicaragua Rise, and the Gulf of Papua, were selected to represent pure carbonate versus mixed systems, in quiescent versus tectonically active settings, and various carbonate bank top morphologies, ranging from atoll to relatively deeply and narrowly flooded flat top banks. In spite of these differences, each record illustrates a clear relationship between the timing of platform top re-flooding and initiation of significant carbonate export by gravity flows and low-density plumes into the surrounding basins. The concept of "re-flooding window" is introduced to characterize the prolific period of time during which bank and atoll-tops are flooded enough to produce large export of bank-derived aragonite and of calci-turbidites in adjacent basins. According to our datasets, the main re-flooding windows have occurred mainly on the last part of the sea level rise at each glacial termination (T), those periods being marked by some of the highest rates of sea level rise. The analysis of a long-piston core from the earthquakes-prone Walton Basin (Northern Nicaragua Rise) demonstrates that sea level, not seismic activities, played a major role as trigger mechanism for the initiation of gravity flows since the last four glacial/interglacial transitions, and supports the existence of an extra glacial termination during the early portion of the transition from MIS 7.4 to MIS 7.3 (TIIIA). (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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