Dickens, Gerald R.; Fewless, Thomas; Thomas, Ellen; Bralower, Timothy J. (2003): Excess barite accumulation during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum; massive input of dissolved barium from seafloor gas hydrate reservoirs. Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States, In: Wing, Scott L. (editor), Gingerich, Philip D. (editor), Schmitz, Birger (editor), Thomas, Ellen (editor), Causes and consequences of globally warm climates in the early Paleogene, 369, 11-23, georefid:2003-056969

A -2 per mil to -3 per mil excursion characterizes carbon isotope records across the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), probably signifying transfer of approximately 2000 gigatons of CH (sub 4) carbon from seafloor gas hydrate reservoirs to the ocean and atmosphere. During at least 30 k.y. of this carbon cycle perturbation, euhedral barite apparently accumulated in deep-sea sediment faster than before or after. This excess burial of "biogenic barite" has been argued to reflect elevated global primary productivity in surface waters, an interpretation in disagreement with microfossil assemblages. In this paper, we develop a numerical model for the marine Ba cycle to explore possible mechanisms for widespread barite accumulation. This model immediately highlights a fundamental problem with the productivity explanation: Ba has a short residence time in the ocean ( approximately 8000 yr) so that excess Ba output on a global scale over periods <1000 yr signifies excess Ba input. However, a greater Ba input from conventional sources, hydrothermal waters and rivers, seems untenable. Assuming that available Ba records represent increased global output, we suggest an unconventional explanation for widespread barite accumulation. Prior to the PETM, gas hydrate reservoirs stored enormous masses of CH (sub 4) and dissolved Ba (super 2+) . During the PETM, substantial quantities of gas hydrate converted to free CH (sub 4) gas, increasing pore pressures, and releasing significant amounts of CH (sub 4) and dissolved Ba (super 2+) to intermediate waters of the ocean. Consequently, dissolved Ba (super 2+) concentrations in the deep ocean rose, a smaller fraction of sinking barite particles dissolved, and "biogenic barite" accumulation increased. The model satisfactorily explains available records but forces us to link components of the marine CH (sub 4) and Ba cycles, an endeavor with few constraints.
West: -76.2128 East: 1.1218 North: 31.5035 South: -65.0938
Expedition: 113
Site: 113-690
Expedition: 164
Site: 164-994
Site: 164-997
Expedition: 171B
Site: 171B-1051
Supplemental Information:
Includes appendix
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Provider: SEDIS Publication Catalogue
Data set link: http://sedis.iodp.org/pub-catalogue/index.php?id=2003-056969 (c.f. for more detailed metadata)
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