Growth and composition of high-Mg calcite in the skeleton of a Bermudian gorgonian (Plexaurella dichotoma): potential for paleothermometry

Bond, Z.A., Cohen, A.L., Smith, S.R. and Jenkins, W.J. (2005) Growth and composition of high-Mg calcite in the skeleton of a Bermudian gorgonian (Plexaurella dichotoma): potential for paleothermometry. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 6, Q08010. (doi:10.1029/2005GC000911).


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We used a secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) ion microprobe to analyze magnesium-to-calcium (Mg/Ca) and strontium-to-calcium (Sr/Ca) ratios of high-Mg calcite loculi within the skeleton of a shallow water gorgonian, Plexaurella dichotoma, from Bermuda. A cross section of the gorgonian skeleton reveals loculi embedded within proteinaceous gorgonin arranged in concentric rings about the axial core. Viewed in cross section, the loculi are fan-shaped, 10–140 ?m in diameter, and composed of bundles of needle-shaped crystals that appear to radiate out from a calcification center. Discrete sample spots, each 20 ?m diameter, were sputtered from successive loculi along a sample track 3 mm long. Over this distance, 25 bands of high-low density gorgonin couplets were encountered, estimated to represent the period 1963 to 1988. Mg/Ca ratios show an overall, positive correlation with annual sea surface temperatures (SSTs) that is strongest in the autumn months (October–December). High-resolution analyses along the growth axes of individual loculi reveal low variability and no trend, consistent with our interpretation of seasonal growth of these calcite inclusions. The sensitivity of Mg/Ca to interannual changes in average autumn temperatures is 0.47 mmol/mol per °C. Conversely, interannual variability in calcite Sr/Ca does not follow the interannual variability in SST and may be influenced primarily by growth rate.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1029/2005GC000911
Related URLs:
Keywords: gorgonian, Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, calcite, SIMS ion microprobe, biomineralization
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
ePrint ID: 24169
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 11:45

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