The oxygen content of ocean bottom waters, the burial efficiency of organic carbon, and the regulation of atmospheric oxygen.

Abstract

Data for the burial efficiency of organic carbon with marine sediments have been compiled for 69 locations. The burial efficiency as here defined is the ratio of the quantity of organic carbon which is ultimately buried to that which reaches the sediment-water interface. As noted previously, the sedimentation rate exerts a dominant influence on the burial efficiency. The logarithm of the burial efficiency is linearly related to the logarithm of the sedimentation rate at low sedimentation rates. At high sedimentation rates the burial efficiency can exceed 50% and becomes nearly independent of the sedimentation rate. The residual of the burial efficiency after the effect of the sedimentation rate has been subtracted is a weak function of the O2 concentration in bottom waters. The scatter is sufficiently large, so that the effect of the O2 concentration in bottom waters on the burial efficiency of organic matter could be either negligible or a minor but significant part of the mechanism that controls the level of O2 in the atmosphere.

Cite this paper

@article{Betts1991TheOC, title={The oxygen content of ocean bottom waters, the burial efficiency of organic carbon, and the regulation of atmospheric oxygen.}, author={Joe Betts and Heinrich D. Holland}, journal={Global and planetary change}, year={1991}, volume={97}, pages={5-18} }