Publication Abstracts

Gaffin 2009

Gaffin, S.R., 2009: Ubiquity of the relative equilibrium line dynamic and amplified cyclicity in Earth sedimentary systems. Climatic Change, 96, 203-218, doi:10.1007/s10584-009-9580-8.

A distinctive feature of Earth's sedimentary systems is that they all involve the interaction between a nearly-horizontal "equilibrium line," controlling mass supply, and a dynamic sedimentary surface. For glacial systems, this is the snow line or firn line, approximating a zero-degree atmospheric isotherm. For sedimentary basin systems it is sea level or baselevel. For deep ocean carbonate sediments it is the calcite compensation depth or lysocline. First-order considerations in each case suggest a positive feedback on mass supply as the surface builds upwards (and negative feedback if the surface drops). In the first two cases, outstanding paleoclimate problems exist wherein recorded past sedimentary cycles have asymmetric amplitudes that appear too large compared to deduced vertical movements of the respective equilibrium lines. These problems are familiarly known as the "100-kiloyear Pleistocene ice age cycle" and the "million year high-order Cretaceous relative sea level cycles." Here, I discuss the emerging commonalities that surround these two amplified cycles, emphasizing the ubiquitous presence of a relative equilibrium line dynamic, and which for glacial systems has long been seen as providing a mass supply feedback that can reconcile the disparity between the forcing and the response. I suggest that, in the same way that continental ice sheets have been modeled as passive sedimentary systems that can freely oscillate with little or no snowline forcing, sedimentary basin systems may be capable of similar behavior without vertical sea level change and illustrate the concepts with a low-order model. Sedimentary indicators for relative sea level change may be displaying disproportionately large responses to small eustatic sea level changes, due to internal positive feedbacks.

Export citation: [ BibTeX ] [ RIS ]

BibTeX Citation

@article{ga04100j,
  author={Gaffin, S. R.},
  title={Ubiquity of the relative equilibrium line dynamic and amplified cyclicity in Earth sedimentary systems},
  year={2009},
  journal={Climatic Change},
  volume={96},
  pages={203--218},
  doi={10.1007/s10584-009-9580-8},
}

[ Close ]

RIS Citation

TY  - JOUR
ID  - ga04100j
AU  - Gaffin, S. R.
PY  - 2009
TI  - Ubiquity of the relative equilibrium line dynamic and amplified cyclicity in Earth sedimentary systems
JA  - Climatic Change
VL  - 96
SP  - 203
EP  - 218
DO  - 10.1007/s10584-009-9580-8
ER  -

[ Close ]

• Return to 2009 Publications

• Return to Publications Homepage