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Experimental evidence that ooid size reflects a dynamic equilibrium between rapid precipitation and abrasion rates

Trower, Elizabeth J. and Lamb, Michael P. and Fischer, Woodward W. (2017) Experimental evidence that ooid size reflects a dynamic equilibrium between rapid precipitation and abrasion rates. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 468 . pp. 112-118. ISSN 0012-821X. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2017.04.004.

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Ooids are enigmatic concentrically coated carbonate sand grains that reflect a fundamental mode of carbonate sedimentation and inorganic product of the carbon cycle—trends in their composition and size are thought to record changes in seawater chemistry over Earth history. Substantial debate persists concerning the roles of physical, chemical, and microbial processes in their growth, including whether carbonate precipitation on ooid surfaces is driven by seawater chemistry or microbial activity, and what role—if any—sediment transport and abrasion play. To test these ideas, we developed an approach to study ooids in the laboratory employing sediment transport stages and seawater chemistry similar to natural environments. Ooid abrasion and precipitation rates in the experiments were four orders of magnitude faster than radiocarbon net growth rates of natural ooids, implying that ooids approach a stable size representing a dynamic equilibrium between precipitation and abrasion. Results demonstrate that the physical environment is as important as seawater chemistry in controlling ooid growth and, more generally, that sediment transport plays a significant role in chemical sedimentary systems.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Trower, Elizabeth J.0000-0001-9898-5589
Lamb, Michael P.0000-0002-5701-0504
Fischer, Woodward W.0000-0002-8836-3054
Additional Information:© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Received 16 January 2017, Revised 31 March 2017, Accepted 1 April 2017, Available online 20 April 2017. We thank Brian Fuller and Joel Scheingross for assistance with the abrasion mills. Particle size analysis was made in collaboration with Brandon McElroy, who also provided fantastic feedback. We thank John Grotzinger and Frank Corsetti for helpful discussions on this work. EJT acknowledges support from an Agouron Geobiology Postdoctoral Fellowship. This work was also supported by the Agouron Institute and an American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Grant #56757-ND8 (to WWF). The data used are listed in the references, tables, and supplements.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Agouron InstituteUNSPECIFIED
American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund56757-ND8
Subject Keywords:ooids; abrasion; carbonate precipitation; dynamic equilibrium; seawater chemistry
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170420-073602236
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Official Citation:Elizabeth J. Trower, Michael P. Lamb, Woodward W. Fischer, Experimental evidence that ooid size reflects a dynamic equilibrium between rapid precipitation and abrasion rates, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 468, 15 June 2017, Pages 112-118, ISSN 0012-821X, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:76745
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 Apr 2017 16:31
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 17:02

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