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Post-Mesozoic rapid increase of seawater Mg/Ca due to enhanced mantle-seawater interaction
Ligi, M.; Bonatti, E.; Cuffaro, M.; Brunelli, D. (2013). Post-Mesozoic rapid increase of seawater Mg/Ca due to enhanced mantle-seawater interaction. NPG Scientific Reports 3(2752): 8 pp. hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep02752
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Ligi, M.
  • Bonatti, E.
  • Cuffaro, M.
  • Brunelli, D.

Abstract
    The seawater Mg/Ca ratio increased significantly from ~ 80 Ma to present, as suggested by studies of carbonate veins in oceanic basalts and of fluid inclusions in halite. We show here that reactions of mantle-derived peridotites with seawater along slow spreading mid-ocean ridges contributed to the post-Cretaceous Mg/Ca increase. These reactions can release to modern seawater up to 20% of the yearly Mg river input. However, no significant peridotite-seawater interaction and Mg-release to the ocean occur in fast spreading, East Pacific Rise-type ridges. The Mesozoic Pangean superocean implies a hot fast spreading ridge system. This prevented peridotite-seawater interaction and Mg release to the Mesozoic ocean, but favored hydrothermal Mg capture and Ca release by the basaltic crust, resulting in a low seawater Mg/Ca ratio. Continent dispersal and development of slow spreading ridges allowed Mg release to the ocean by peridotite-seawater reactions, contributing to the increase of the Mg/Ca ratio of post-Mesozoic seawater.

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