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 GSA Today, v. 9, no. 11, November 1999


Table of Contents

Science Article: (View Abstract)
A New Look at the Long-term Carbon Cycle
by Robert A. Berner

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In Memoriam 2
Dialogue 3
About People 6
2000 GSA Annual Meeting Field Trips 7
USArray Initiative 8
Washington Report—A Turn in U.S. Ocean Policy? 11
Environment Matters—Managing America's Coastal Parks 13
Session Proposals for the 2000 GSA Annual Meeting 14
SEG Student Research Grants 15
Age of Earth Symposium 15
First GSA Field Forum, Matanuska Glacier, Alaska 16
Rock Stars-Edwin McKee 18
GSA Foundation 20
Memories: 1999 GeoVentures 22
Call for Nominations 23
Book Reviews 24
Wanted: Your Geological Photos 26
GSA Honors 50-Year Members, Fellows 27
GSA Grants Support Student Research 28
Student Travel Grants 28
GSA Offers Awards in Geomorphology and Micropalentology 29
South-Central Section Awards 1999 Grants 29
Bulletin and Geology Contents 30
Classifieds 31
SAGE Remarks-Using the Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses 36

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A New Look at the Long-term Carbon Cycle
Robert A. Berner,
Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-81009

The long-term carbon cycle is the cycle that operates over millions of years and that involves the slow exchange of carbon between rocks and the surficial system consisting of the ocean, atmosphere, biota, and soils. It is distin-guished from the short-term carbon cycle, in which carbon is rapidly exchanged only within the surficial system. A new type of diagram illustrates the cause-effect relations involved in the long-term carbon cycle and how these processes affect the levels of atmospheric O2 and CO2 . The diagram also includes the cycle of phosphorus as it affects the burial of organic matter in sediments. The diagram is distinctly different from, and is here compared to, the more traditional representation of geochemical cycles in terms of box models. By following paths leading from causes to effects, one can trace complex loops that demonstrate positive and negative feedback, and this allows discovery of new subcycles that deserve further study. This type of diagram should be applicable in general to other geological and geochemical processes.

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