The Carbon and Carbonate Cycle and Earth’s Climate


Introduction: When we talk about a cycle, we are referring to something that starts somewhere and comes back to the same place. The global carbon cycle refers to the movement of the element carbon through different storage places, or reservoirs, on Earth. These reservoirs include the biosphere (living things), the atmosphere, soils, the oceans, sediments, and sedimentary rocks. Carbon moves (cycles) through these various reservoirs at different rates.

Homework expectations: The intent of this homework is mainly to make you aware that sedimentary rocks are the primary long-term repository for carbon on Earth, understand the relationship between inorganic and organic carbon, and demonstrate the relevance of sedimentary petrology to current issues (sea-level change, global warming, etc.).

Using slide #2 and 3 in Lecture 4_Carbonates1.pdf as a starting point, the paper of Ridgwell & Zeebe ( and the following two websites: and,

write a 3-page essay in which to focus on the role of marine and terrestrial (including soil) sediments/rocks in the broader carbon cycle, and how can carbonate sediments be tight to sea-level changes or/and global warming.

Essay layout: Margins: 1”, Text spacing: 1.5 lines; Font: Arial 12 pts. Figures: maximum 1.

Format of the paper (and other rules):
1. You will use formal English grammar. No informal language or colloquialisms.
2. Avoid using jargon.
3. All sources of information (aka references, i.e., pdf files or websites) will be cited in the paper where that information is used. In doing this, use author and date in your essay, e.g., “The particle size (Folk, 1976) can be measured…” or “Macquaker (1993) documented a variety of …
4. Multiple authors are indicated as (Rine & Ginsburg, 1985) at the end of a sentence. Or, if more than two authors (Kuehl et al., 1976). “et al.” means “and others.”
5. If you include any figures into the text they must be cited in numerical order and provide credits (source) if is not yours.
6. A reference list of all cited paper should be placed at the end of your essay (use as example the Reference in the Ridgwell & Zeebe (2005) paper.

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