Selective dissolution of siliceous microfossils observed in a box core from the north-east equatorial Pacific


A box core taken at 11°50.3′ N and 137°28.2′ W in the Central Pacific manganese nodule province was studied to determine the pattern of diatom and radiolarian preservation with depth in the sediment, as well as to observe downcore variations in clay mineralogy. We observed marked deterioration of the siliceous microfossils within the upper 30 cm of this sediment; over this depth interval the Quaternary diatoms disappear first, followed deeper downcore by the dissolution of Quaternary radiolarians. Tertiary microfossils in general were the most corrosion resistant, and the residual microfossil assemblage in the lower part of the core consisted of fragmented, robust Tertiary forms. Consequently, the apparent biostratigraphical age of the sediment appeared much greater than the age suggested by mineralogical and radioisotopic data.


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