Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

SE Asian carbonates: tools for evaluating environmental and climatic change in equatorial tropics over the last 50 million years

By
Moyra E. J. Wilson
Moyra E. J. Wilson
Department of Applied Geology, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, Western Australia, 6845 (e-mail: m.wilson@curtin.edu.au)
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 2011

Abstract

This study reviews how shallow water carbonates are revealing environmental and climatic changes on all scales through the last 50 million years in SE Asia. Marine biodiversity reaches a global maximum in the region, yet the environmental conditions are at odds with the traditional view of ‘blue-water’ reefal development. The region is characterized by complex tectonics, major volcanism, high terrestrial runoff, nutrient influx, everwet and monsoonal climates, low salinities, major currents and ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) fluctuations. Terrestrial runoff, nutrient upwelling, tectonics, volcanism and recent human activities are major influences on the modern development of carbonate systems. Coral sclerochronology is revealing how these factors vary locally over annual and decadal scales. The strong impact of vertical tectonic movements and the interplay with eustasy is evaluated from Quaternary and Pleistocene coral reef terraces. Isotopic data from terrace deposits indicates that interglacials may have been up to 3–6 °C warmer than glacials, consistent with the region's record from terrestrial and deep marine deposits. Study of outcrop and subsurface carbonate deposits reveals the impact of tectonics, siliciclastic, nutrient influx, eustasy and oceanography on individual systems over millennial timescales. Major changes in oceanography, plate tectonics, climate change and perhaps fluctuating CO2 levels impacted Cenozoic regional carbonate development. Results of studies from terrestrial and deep marine realms are comparable with those from the carbonates, but have yielded higher resolution records of changing currents, precipitation and the monsoons. There is considerable scope for further research, however, SE Asian carbonates are powerful tools in evaluating past environmental change in the equatorial tropics.

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables

Contents

Geological Society Special Publications

The SE Asian Gateway: History and Tectonics of the Australia-Asia Collision

R. Hall
R. Hall
Royal Holloway University of London, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
M. A. Cottam
M. A. Cottam
Royal Holloway University of London, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
M. E. J. Wilson
M. E. J. Wilson
Curtin University, Australia
Search for other works by this author on:
Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
9781862396036
Publication date:
January 01, 2011

GeoRef

References

Related

Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal