The Middle to Late Miocene “Carbonate Crash” in the Equatorial Indian Ocean

Lübbers, Julia; Kuhnt, Wolfgang; Holbourn, Ann E.; Bolton, Clara T.; Gray, Emmeline; Usui, Yoichi; Kochhann, Karlos G. D.; Beil, Sebastian and Andersen, Nils (2019). The Middle to Late Miocene “Carbonate Crash” in the Equatorial Indian Ocean. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 34(5) pp. 813–832.



We integrate benthic foraminiferal stable isotopes, X‐ray fluorescence elemental ratios, and carbonate accumulation estimates in a continuous sedimentary archive recovered at International Ocean Discovery Program Site U1443 (Ninetyeast Ridge, Indian Ocean) to reconstruct changes in carbonate deposition and climate evolution over the interval 13.5 to 8.2 million years ago. Declining carbonate percentages together with a marked decrease in carbonate accumulation rates after ~13.2 Ma signal the onset of a prolonged episode of reduced carbonate deposition. This extended phase, which lasted until ~8.7 Ma, coincides with the middle to late Miocene carbonate crash, originally identified in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Interocean comparison reveals that intense carbonate impoverishment at Site U1443 (~11.5 to ~10 Ma) coincides with prolonged episodes of reduced carbonate deposition in all major tropical ocean basins. This implies that global changes in the intensity of chemical weathering and riverine input of calcium and carbonate ions into the ocean reservoir were instrumental in driving the carbonate crash. An increase in U1443 Log (Ba/Ti) together with a change in sediment color from red to green indicate a rise in organic export flux to the sea floor after ~11.2 Ma, which predates the global onset of the biogenic bloom. This early rise in export flux from biological production may have been linked to increased advection of nutrients and intensification of upper ocean mixing, associated with changes in the seasonality and intensity of the Indian Monsoon.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions