Production and accumulation of calcium carbonate in the ocean: Budget of a nonsteady state
Article first published online: 14 JUN 2010
Copyright 1993 by the American Geophysical Union.
Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Volume 7, Issue 4, pages 927–957, December 1993
How to Cite
1993), Production and accumulation of calcium carbonate in the ocean: Budget of a nonsteady state, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 7(4), 927–957, doi:10.1029/93GB02524.(
- Issue published online: 14 JUN 2010
- Article first published online: 14 JUN 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 SEP 1993
- Manuscript Received: 8 JUN 1993
Present-day production of CaCO3 in tne world ocean is calculated to be about 5 billion tons (bt) per year, of which about 3 bt accumulate in sediments; the other 40% is dissolved. Nearly half of the carbonate sediment accumulates on reefs, banks, and tropical shelves, and consists largely of metastable aragonite and magnesian calcite. Deep-sea carbonates, predominantly calcitic coccoliths and planktonic foraminifera, have orders of magnitude lower productivity and accumulation rates than shallow-water carbonates, but they cover orders of magnitude larger basin area. Twice as much calcium is removed from the oceans by present-day carbonate accumulation as is estimated to be brought in by rivers and hydrothermal activity (1.6 bt), suggesting that outputs have been overestimated or inputs underestimated, that one or more other inputs have not been identified, and/or that the oceans are not presently in steady state. One “missing” calcium source might be groundwater, although its present-day input is probably much smaller than that of rivers. If, as seems likely, CaCO3 accumulation presently exceeds terrestial and hydrothermal input, this imbalance presumably is offset by decreased accumulation and increased input during lowered sea level: shallow-water accumulation decreases by an order of magnitude with a 100 m drop in sea level, while groundwater influx increases because of heightened piezometric head and the diagenesis of metastable aragonite and magnesian calcite from subaerially exposed shallow-water carbonates.