What do we know about the evolution of Mg to Ca ratios in seawater?



[1] Although most reconstructions of the evolution of the Mg to Ca ratio in seawater conclude that it has increased during the course of the Cenozoic, they disagree widely regarding the magnitude of this change. On the basis of fluid inclusion and CaCO3 mineralogy observations, the increase was at least threefold. On the basis of Mg content of foraminifera shells it was only a factor of 1.7. A recently published reconstruction based on the Mg content of calcite fillings of voids in ridge flank basalts lends support to the conclusion that the change was severalfold. But as it is very difficult to come up with a plausible geologic scenario which could account for such a large change, we lean toward the smaller estimate based on the magnesium content of foraminifera shells.