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A Redox-Based Model for Carbonate Platform Drowning and Ocean Anoxic Events

Smith, B. P. and Kerans, C. and Fischer, W. W. (2021) A Redox-Based Model for Carbonate Platform Drowning and Ocean Anoxic Events. Geophysical Research Letters, 48 (13). Art. No. e2021GL093048. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/2021gl093048.

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The deposition of marine carbonate rocks is influenced by climate and seawater chemistry. Carbonate platforms usually keep pace with subsidence and sea level rise but “platform drowning” occurs when carbonate sedimentation slows or when siliciclastics replace carbonates. Identifying specific mechanism(s) behind platform drowning is critical for understanding global environmental changes such as Ocean Anoxic Events (OAEs). We developed a model for OAEs which couples ocean basin redox processes to rates of carbonate sedimentation. Well-oxygenated oceans have steep gradients in saturation state such that deep-ocean dissolution is balanced by carbonate “overproduction” in shallow water. Through anaerobic metabolisms, deep-ocean anoxia reduces both dissolution and overproduction, leading to slower accumulation rates in shallow-water environments. This quasi-steady state response links carbonate sedimentation with longer timescales associated with redox changes. Redox-based drowning may have acted alongside other mechanisms to create spatially diverse patterns of platform drowning during Mesozoic OAEs and other Phanerozoic hyperthermal events.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Smith, B. P.0000-0003-3189-8717
Kerans, C.0000-0002-3544-9006
Fischer, W. W.0000-0002-8836-3054
Additional Information:© 2021 American Geophysical Union. Issue Online: 03 July 2021; Version of Record online: 03 July 2021; Accepted manuscript online: 14 June 2021; Manuscript accepted: 28 May 2021; Manuscript revised: 25 May 2021; Manuscript received: 18 February 2021. B. Smith acknowledges support from the Agouron Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship, C. Kerans acknowledges support from the Reservoir Characterization Research Lab, and W. Fischer acknowledges support from the Caltech’s Rothberg Innovative Initiative and the Caltech Center for Evolutionary Science. The authors declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this study. Data Availability Statement: The model as described in the main text and SI is available through a Github repository (
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Agouron InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Reservoir Characterization Research LabUNSPECIFIED
Rothenberg Innovation Initiative (RI2)UNSPECIFIED
Caltech Center for Evolutionary ScienceUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:ocean anoxic event; carbonate platform; platform drowning; hyperthermal; carbonate stratigraphy
Issue or Number:13
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210625-195129983
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Smith, B. P., Kerans, C., & Fischer, W. W. (2021). A redox-based model for carbonate platform drowning and Ocean Anoxic Events. Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2021GL093048.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:109584
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:25 Jun 2021 21:31
Last Modified:08 Jul 2021 21:15

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