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STUDIES IN GEOPHYSICS Material Fluxes on the Surface of the Earth Board on Earth Sciences and Resources Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1994
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NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kennerth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this activity was provided by the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Material fluxes on the surface of the earth / Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources, National Research Council. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-309-04745-5 1. Sedimentation and deposition. 2. Weathering. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Board on Earth Sciences and Resources. II. Series. QE571.M37 1994 551.3—dc20 94-20773 CIP Copyright 1994 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Panel on Global Surficial Geofluxes WILLIAM W. HAY, University of Colorado and GEOMAR, KIEL, Germany, Chairman JOHN T. ANDREWS, University of Colorado VICTOR R. BAKER, University of Arizona JACK DYMOND, Oregon State University LEE R. KUMP, Pennsylvania State University ABRAHAM LERMAN, Northwestern University W. R. MARTIN, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution MICHEL MEYBECK, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie JOHN D. MILLIMAN, Virginia Institute of Marine Studies DAVID K. REA, University of Michigan F. L. SAYLES, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Staff THOMAS M. USSELMAN, Associate Director JUDITH ESTEP, Administrative Assistant
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Geophysics Study Committee* BYRON D. TAPLEY, University of Texas, Chairman RICHARD T. BARBER, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute ROBIN BRETT, U.S. Geological Survey RALPH J. CICERONE, University of California, Irvine RANA A. FINE, University of Miami LYNN W. GELHAR, Massachusetts Institute of Technology NORMAN F. NESS, University of Delaware GEORGE C. REID, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ROBERT S. YEATS, Oregon State University Staff THOMAS M. USSELMAN, Associate Director JUDITH ESTEP, Administrative Assistant * Membership of the Geophysics Study Committee during most of the conduct of the report. The committee is no longer active.
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Board on Earth Sciences and Resources J. FREEMAN GILBERT, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Chair GAIL M. ASHLEY, Rutgers University THURE CERLING, University of Utah MARK P. CLOOS, University of Texas at Austin NEVILLE G.W. COOK, University of California, Berkeley JOEL DARMSTADTER, Resources for the Future DONALD J. DEPAOLO, University of California, Berkeley MARCO EINAUDI, Stanford University NORMAN H. FOSTER, Independent Petroleum Geologist, Denver CHARLES G. GROAT, Louisiana State University DONALD C. HANEY, Kentucky Geological Survey ANDREW H. KNOLL, Harvard University PHILIP E. LaMOREAUX, P.E. LaMoreaux and Associates, Inc. SUSAN LANDON, Thomasson Partner Associates, Denver MARCIA K. McNUTT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology J. BERNARD MINSTER, University of California, San Diego JILL D. PASTERIS, Washington University EDWARD C. ROY, JR., Trinity University Staff JONATHAN G. PRICE, Director THOMAS M. USSELMAN, Associate Director WILLIAM E. BENSON, Senior Program Officer KEVIN C. CROWLEY, Program Officer BRUCE B. HANSHAW, Program Officer ANNE M. LINN, Program Officer
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LALLY A. ANDERSON, Staff Assistant CHARLENE E. ANDERSON, Administrative Assistant JUDITH ESTEP, Administrative Assistant SHELLEY MYERS, Project Assistant
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Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources M. GORDON WOLMAN, The Johns Hopkins University, Chairman PATRICK R. ATKINS, Aluminum Company of America PETER S. EAGLESON, Massachusetts Institute of Technology EDWARD A. FRIEMAN, Scripps Institution of Oceanography W. BARCLAY KAMB, California Institute of Technology JACK E. OLIVER, Cornell University FRANK L. PARKER, Vanderbilt University RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen's University at Kingston THOMAS C. SCHELLING, University of Maryland LARRY L. SMARR, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign STEVEN M. STANLEY, The Johns Hopkins University VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL, Landers and Parson WARREN WASHINGTON, National Center for Atmospheric Research EDITH BROWN WEISS, Georgetown University Law Center Staff STEPHEN RATTIEN, Executive Director STEPHEN D. PARKER, Associate Executive Director MORGAN GOPNIK, Assistant Executive Director JEANETTE SPOON, Administrative Officer SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate ROBIN ALLEN, Senior Project Assistant
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Studies in Geophysics* ENERGY AND CLIMATE Roger R. Revelle, panel chairman, 1977, 158 pp. ESTUARIES, GEOPHYSICS, AND THE ENVIRONMENT Charles B. Officer, panel chairman, 1977, 127 pp. CLIMATE, CLIMATIC CHANGE, AND WATER SUPPLY James R. Wallis, panel chairman, 1977, 132 pp. THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE AND MAGNETOSPHERE Francis S. Johnson, panel chairman, 1977, 168 pp. GEOPHYSICAL PREDICTIONS Helmut E. Landsberg, panel chairman, 1978, 215 pp. IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON GEOPHYSICS Homer E. Newell, panel chairman, 1979, 136 pp. CONTINENTAL TECTONICS B. Clark Burchfiel, Jack E. Oliver, and Leon T. Silver, panel co-chairmen, 1980, 197 pp. MINERAL RESOURCES: GENETIC UNDERSTANDING FOR PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS Paul B. Barton, Jr., panel chairman, 1981, 119 pp. SCIENTIFIC BASIS OF WATER-RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Myron B. Fiering, panel chairman, 1982, 127 pp. SOLAR VARIABILITY, WEATHER, AND CLIMATE John A. Eddy, panel chairman, 1982, 104 pp. CLIMATE IN EARTH HISTORY Wolfgang H. Berger and John C. Crowell, panel cochairmen, 1982, 198 pp. * Published to date.
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FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH ON ESTUARIES: THE IMPORTANCE OF AN INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH L. Eugene Cronin and Charles B. Officer, panel co-chairmen, 1983, 79 pp. EXPLOSIVE VOLCANISM: INCEPTION, EVOLUTION, AND HAZARDS Francis R. Boyd, panel chairman, 1984, 176 pp. GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATION John D. Bredehoeft, panel chairman, 1984, 179 pp. ACTIVE TECTONICS Robert E. Wallace, panel chairman, 1986, 266 pp. THE EARTH'S ELECTRICAL ENVIRONMENT E. Philip Krider and Raymond G. Roble, panel co-chairmen, 1986, 263 pp. SEA-LEVEL CHANGE Roger Revelle, panel chairman, 1990, 217 pp. THE ROLE OF FLUIDS IN CRUSTAL PROCESSES John D. Bredehoeft and Denis L. Norton, panel co-chairmen, 1990, 170 pp. MATERIAL FLUXES ON THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH William W. Hay, panel chairman, 1994, 192 pp.
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Preface This report is part of a series, Studies in Geophysics, that has been carried out over the past 14 years to provide (1) a source of information from the scientific community to aid policymakers in decisions on societal problems that involve geophysics and (2) assessments of emerging research topics within the broad scope of geophysics. An important part of such reports is an evaluation of the adequacy of current geophysical knowledge and the appropriateness of current research programs in addressing needed information. The study Material Fluxes on the Surface of the Earth is designed to report on the state of knowledge of the major fluxes and pathways by which materials are transferred from one site to another on the surface of the earth. The purpose of the study is to present the state of knowledge of modern and late Pleistocene process rates and fluxes, including the last glaciation and during the deglaciation, on a global scale; evaluate the variability inherent in process rates and fluxes in these young geologic times; assess the extent to which modern measurements of fluxes already incorporate anthropogenic effects; express variability of natural processes and fluxes in terms of fluctuations and changes occurring on different time scales; identify gaps in the understanding of the natural variability of surficial processes and material fluxes; and suggest how the natural variability could be incorporated into the baselines of modern processes to be used in models of future change. The topic was initiated by the Geophysics Study Committee in consultation with the liaison representatives of the federal agencies that support the committee, relevant boards and committees within the National Research Council, and members of the scientific community. While this report was being completed, the Geophysics Study Committee
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ceased operations and its parent Board on Earth Sciences and Resources assumed the responsibility for the completion of this report. The preliminary scientific findings of the authored background chapters were presented at a symposium during the 28th International Geological Congress in July 1989 in Washington, D.C. In completing their chapters, the authors had the benefit of discussions at this symposium as well as the comments of several scientific referees. Ultimate responsibility for the individual chapters, however, rests with the authors. The Overview of the study summarizes the highlights of the chapters and formulates conclusions and recommendations. In preparing the Overview, the panel chairman had the benefit of meetings that took place at the symposium, comments of the panel, and the comments of scientists, who reviewed the report according to procedures established by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. Responsibility for the Overview rests with the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and the chairman.
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Contents OVERVIEW 1 BACKGROUND 1. Pleistocene — Holocene Fluxes Are Not the Earth's Norm William W. Hay 15 2. Surficial Weathering Fluxes and Their Geochemical Controls Abraham Lerman 28 3. Global Chemical Weathering on Glacial Time Scales Lee R. Kump and Richard B. Alley 46 4. Origin and Variable Composition of Present Day Riverborne Material Michel Meybeck 61 5. Geomorphic/Tectonic Control of Sediment Discharge to the Ocean: The Importance of Small Mountainous Rivers John D. Milliman and James P.M. Syvitski 74 6. Glacial to Modern Changes in Global River Fluxes Victor R. Baker 86 7. Sediment Fluxes Along High-Latitude Glaciated Continental Margins: Northeast Canada and Eastern Greenland John T. Andrews and J.P.M. Syvitski 99
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8. Late Quaternary Flux of Eolian Dust to the Pelagic Ocean David K. Rea, Steven A. Hovan, and Thomas R. Janecek 116 9. Particle Fluxes in the Ocean and Implications for Sources and Preservation of Ocean Sediments Jack Dymond and Mitchell Lyle 125 10. Seafloor Diagenetic Fluxes W.R. Martin and F.L. Sayles 143 INDEX 165
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MATERIAL FLUXES ON THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH
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