When viewed over a very broad time interval, from days to millions of years, the degradation rate of sediment organic matter is primarily a function of its age. This was shown clearly in an analysis by Middelburg (1989, 2019) in which the reactivity, i.e. the specific degradation rate constant, of marine organic matter was shown to be a log-log linear function (power law function) of its “initial age” over a time span of eight orders of magnitude (Fig. 6.1). The exponent of the power law is close to -1, which means that the degradation rate constant...

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