Paleoceanographic significance of sediment color on western North Atlantic drifts: I. Origin of color Academic Article uri icon


  • Reflectance spectra collected during ODP Leg 172 were used in concert with solid phase iron chemistry, carbonate content, and organic carbon content measurements to evaluate the agents responsible for setting the color in sediments. Factor analysis has proved a valuable and rapid technique to detect the local and regional primary factors that influence sediment color. On the western North Atlantic drifts, sediment color is the result of primary mineralogy as well as diagenetic changes. Sediment lightness is controlled by the carbonate content while the hue is primarily due to the presence of hematite and Fe2+/Fe3+ changes in clay minerals. Hematite, most likely derived from the Permo-Carboniferous red beds of the Canadian Maritimes, is differentially preserved at various sites due to differences in reductive diagenesis and dilution by other sedimentary components. Various intensities for diagenesis result from changes in organic carbon content, sedimentation rates, and H2S production via anaerobic methane oxidation. Iron monosulfides occur extensively at all high sedimentation sites especially in glacial periods suggesting increased high terrigenous flux and/or increased reactive iron flux in glacials. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • September 2002