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The distribution of coccoliths in surface sediments of the Pacific is greatly influenced by dissolution processes. Etching, fragmentation, and differential removal are obvious from about 3 km depth downward, and increase rapidly below about 4 km depth. Overgrowth is observed on some placoliths in samples at intermediate stages of dissolution. Cluster analysis defines groups of varying preservation aspects in tropical waters, in the central gyre, and at high latitudes. Dissolution rankings for tropical and extratropical regions are established using pairing analysis. The coccolith lysocline is difficult to define, but can be recognized near 4,000 m depth as a considerable drop in diversity of assemblages with respect to the solution resistance of their members. A comparison of dissolution aspects of coccoliths and forams shows that coccolith dissolution indices are sensitive above the lysocline and foram dissolution indices are sensitive below the lysocline.

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