The phosphatic cement in the bioclastic sediment sequence on the northeastern shore of Dongdao Island in the South China Sea was studied and its paleoenvironmental implications discussed. Petrological characteristics and major, trace, REE element data unequivocally supported the notion that phosphatization was closely associated with avian guano decomposition and leaching, whereas carbon and oxygen isotope results further revealed that meteoric water were involved in these processes. AMS C-14 dates on the brown phosphate cements indicate that they were formed around 5700, 5000-5100 and 2900 yr BP, respectively. The multiepisodes of phosphatization very likely correspond to intermittent seabird occupation on this island-possibly reflecting Holocene sea-level oscillation and/or long term climate changes in the South China Sea that have controlled seabird habitat. The phosphate cementation, which occurs widely in tropical islands, may be another useful monitor for sea-level and/or paleoclimate changes. (c) 2007 Published by Elsevier B.V.
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