The hydrographic features that appear to control the distribution of calcite in deep-sea sediments are the level at which the water passes from super- to undersaturation, and the level at which the rate of dissolution increases abruptly (the lysocline). The compensation depth results from a roughly linear increase in the rate of solution of calcite with depth below the lysocline. It does not correspond to a unique physico-chemical change within the water column.

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