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The basic ideas sound convincing: Faster erosion rates can lead to faster silicate weathering and efficient burial of organic carbon in sedimentary basins, both of which can induce global cooling by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. On the other hand, a global increase in erosion rates over the last several million years was associated with glacial-interglacial cycles. This was proposed on the basis of accelerated worldwide sedimentation rates in the oceans. Glaciers scraping off landscapes and subsequent warmings that lead to meltwater transporting sediment into the sea are plausible causes for increased sediment-accumulation rates.
Yet, other studies have indicated that global erosion rates may have remained steady over this time period, and that the apparent increased sediment-accumulation rates are due to the irregularities in how sediments are deposited in space and time, and because older deposits are more likely to be lost by erosion compared to younger deposits."
Compilation - Thermochronology - Data - History - Rocks
More recently, a global compilation of thermochronology data, which tracks the cooling history of rocks as they move toward the surface, has been used to infer a nearly two-fold erosion-rate increase from mountainous landscapes over the last several million years. So the link between glacial-interglacial cycles and faster erosion seemed to be confirmed -- until a team of researchers from the GFZ, led by Taylor Schildgen, and from the...
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