Macrofaunal burrowing enhances deep-sea carbonate lithification on the Southwest Indian Ridge

Xu, Hengchao; Peng, Xiaotong; Chen, Shun; Li, Jiwei; Dasgupta, Shamik; Ta, Kaiwen; Du, Mengran

Deep-sea carbonates represent an important type of sedimentary rock due to their effect on the composition of the upper oceanic crust and their contribution to deep-sea geochemical cycles. However, the role of deep-sea macrofauna in carbonate lithification remains poorly understood. A large lithified carbonate area, characterized by thriving benthic faunas and a tremendous amount of burrows, was discovered in 2008, blanketing the seafloor of the ultraslowly spreading Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR). Benthic inhabitants – including echinoids, polychaetes, gastropods and crustaceans – are abundant in this carbonate lithified area. The burrowing features within these carbonate rocks, as well as the factors that may influence deep-sea carbonate lithification, were examined. We suggest that burrowing in these carbonate rocks enhances deep-sea carbonate lithification. We propose that active bioturbation may trigger the dissolution of the original calcite and thus accelerate deep-sea carbonate lithification on mid-ocean ridges. Macrofaunal burrowing provides a novel driving force for deep-sea carbonate lithification at the seafloor, illuminating the geological and biological importance of bioturbation in global deep-sea carbonate rocks.



Xu, Hengchao / Peng, Xiaotong / Chen, Shun / et al: Macrofaunal burrowing enhances deep-sea carbonate lithification on the Southwest Indian Ridge. 2018. Copernicus Publications.


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