Abstract

87Sr/86Sr ratios determined for samples from a 350 m core of Neogene lagoonal, shallow-water limestones from Enewetak Atoll display a remarkably informative trend. Like the recently published data for Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) carbonates, 87Sr/86Sr at Enewetak increases monotonically but not smoothly from the early Miocene to the Pleistocene. The data show intervals of little or no change in 87Sr/86Sr, punctuated by sharp transitions to lower values toward greater core depths. The sharp transitions correlate with observed solution disconformities caused by periods of subaerial erosion, whereas the intervals of little or no change in 87Sr/86Sr correspond to intervals of rapid accumulation of shallow-water carbonate sediments. When converted to numerical ages using the published DSDP 590B trend, the best-resolved time breaks are at 282 m (12.3 to 18.2 Ma missing) and 121.6 m (3.0 to 5.3 Ma missing) below the lagoon floor. At Enewetak, Sr isotopes offer a stratigraphic resolution for these shallow-marine Neogene carbonates comparable to that of nannofossil zonation in deep-sea carbonates (0.3-3 m.y.). In addition, the correlation of times of Sr-isotope breaks at Enewetak with times of rapid Sr-isotope change in the DSDP 590B samples confirms the importance off sea-level changes in the evolution of global-marine Sr isotopes and shows that the Sr-isotope response to sea-level falls is rapid.

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