Inorganic precipitation of aragonite is a common process within tropical carbonate environments. Across the Northwest Shelf of Australia (NWS) such precipitates were abundant in the late Pleistocene, whereas present-day sedimentation is dominated by calcitic bioclasts. This study presents sedimentological and geochemical analyses of core data retrieved from the upper 13 meters of IODP Site U1461 that provide a high-resolution sedimentary record of the last ~15 thousand years. Sediments that formed from 15 to 10.1 ka BP are aragonitic and characterised by small needles (<5 >µm) and ooids. XRF elemental proxy data indicate that these sediments developed under arid conditions in which high marine alkalinity favoured carbonate precipitation. A pronounced change of XRF-proxy values around 10.1 ka BP indicates a transition to a more humid climate and elevated fluvial runoff. This climatic change coincides with a shelf-wide cessation of inorganic aragonite production and a switch to carbonate sedimentation dominated by skeletal calcite. High ocean water alkalinity due to an arid climate and low fluvial runoff therefore seems to be a prerequisite for the formation of shallow water aragonite-rich sediments on the NWS. These conditions are not necessarily synchronous to interglacial periods, but are linked to the regional hydrological cycle. © 2019, The Author(s).
Hallenberger, M., Reuning, L., Gallagher, S.J. et al. (2019). Increased fluvial runoff terminated inorganic aragonite precipitation on the Northwest Shelf of Australia during the early Holocene. Sci Rep 9, 18356 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-54981-7.