Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Abrupt episode of mid-Cretaceous ocean acidification triggered by massive volcanism

Jones, M.M.; Sageman, B.B.; Selby, D.; Jacobson, A.D.; Batenburg, S.J.; Riquier, L.; MacLeod, K.G.; Huber, B.T.; Bogus, K.A.; Tejada, M.L.G.; Kuroada, J.; Hobbs, R.W.

Abrupt episode of mid-Cretaceous ocean acidification triggered by massive volcanism Thumbnail


M.M. Jones

B.B. Sageman

A.D. Jacobson

S.J. Batenburg

L. Riquier

K.G. MacLeod

B.T. Huber

K.A. Bogus

M.L.G. Tejada

J. Kuroada

R.W. Hobbs


Large igneous province volcanic activity during the mid-Cretaceous approximately 94.5 million years ago triggered a global-scale episode of reduced marine oxygen levels known as Oceanic Anoxic Event 2. It has been hypothesized that this geologically rapid degassing of volcanic carbon dioxide altered seawater carbonate chemistry, affecting marine ecosystems, geochemical cycles, and sedimentation. Here, we report on two sites drilled by the International Ocean Discovery Program offshore of southwest Australia that exhibit clear evidence for suppressed pelagic carbonate sedimentation in the form of a stratigraphic interval barren of carbonate, recording ocean acidification during the event. We then use the osmium isotopic composition of bulk sediments to directly link this protracted ~600- kiloyear shoaling of the marine calcite compensation depth to the onset of volcanic activity. This decrease in marine pH was prolonged by biogeochemical feedbacks in highly productive regions that elevated heterotrophic respiration of carbon dioxide to the water column. A compilation of mid- Cretaceous marine stratigraphic records reveals a contemporaneous decrease of sedimentary carbonate content at continental slope sites globally. Thus, we contend that changes in marine carbonate chemistry are a primary ecological stress and important consequence of rapid emission of carbon dioxide during many large igneous province eruptions in the geologic past.


Jones, M., Sageman, B., Selby, D., Jacobson, A., Batenburg, S., Riquier, L., …Hobbs, R. (2023). Abrupt episode of mid-Cretaceous ocean acidification triggered by massive volcanism. Nature Geoscience, 16(2), 169-174.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 9, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 19, 2023
Publication Date 2023-02
Deposit Date Jan 6, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 28, 2023
Journal Nature Geoscience
Print ISSN 1752-0894
Electronic ISSN 1752-0908
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 2
Pages 169-174
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations