The assessment of diagenetic influences on the sedimentary record is problematic despite its crucial importance for accurate environmental reconstruction and understanding of biochemical cycles. We propose a general applicable method that uses differences in degradation rates of organic components to separate degradation and productivity. We demonstrate this method on a southeastern Atlantic sediment core covering the past 145 k.y. The new method solves discrepancies between existing organic matter, silica- and carbonate-based productivity reconstructions, and emphasizes the importance of bottom- and pore-water characteristics for transformation of the sedimentary record.

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