The origin of dolomite and its diagenesis are still not fully understood. The timing and occurrence of dolomite beds remain key problems. Many thin-bed layers of dolomite in marine sediments were discovered at drill sites in the forearc basin west of the Japan Trench during the Ocean Drilling Program Leg 186. The thickness of the dolomite layers ranges from 0.5 to 2 m, estimated from the well log. These thin-bed dolomite layers were able to be identified on seismic data, through quantitative analysis and comparison of the data with synthetic seismograms. Amplitude-preserved seismic data processing with broadband high-resolution enhancement helps to estimate the reflectivity series dominated by the large impedance contrast between the dolomite layers and the host sediments. In this report, the first geophysical evidence of large-scale dolomitization is provided. The occurrence of thin dolomitic layers embedded in diatomaceous sediments is on a basin scale rather than being an isolated event, which constrains the type of dolomitization and the timing of layered dolomitization. It was found that thin-bed dolomite layers occur where there is an abrupt change in sedimentation rate. Layered dolomitization starts when sedimentation rate changes (from high to low or vice versa). Two dolomite layers coincide with the Miocene-Pliocene and Pliocene-Pleistocene age boundaries. Formation of dolomite beds could be a timing signal of a dramatic change in paleoceanographic and paleoclimatic environments.
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