Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Susan Rimmer

Second Advisor

Dr. Harold Rowe


Carbon/phosphorus ratios for late Devonian-early Mississippian marine black shales along a transect from the Illinois Basin, across the Cumberland Saddle, and into the Appalachian Basin were evaluated to assess the role of productivity in organic carbon accumulation. Phosphorus is a key limiting nutrient for biological productivity in marine environments and may be regenerated preferentially relative to organic carbon, the amount of regeneration possibly being related to bottom-water anoxia. A positive feed-back mechanism (more specifically, productivity-anoxia feedback or PAF) has been proposed between water-column anoxia, high benthic regeneration of phosphorus, and marine productivity. This regeneration of phosphorus under anoxic conditions and overturn of surface waters has been proposed as an explanation for enhanced organic matter accumulation in the Appalachian Devonian Basin.

The Cumberland Saddle is a structurally low segment of the Cincinnati Arch that lies at the crest of the arch between the Jessamine and Nashville domes that connects the Illinois and Appalachian basins. C/P data for two cores in the Illinois Basin, four cores across the Cumberland Saddle, and two cores in the Appalachian Basin are discussed in light of the productivity-anoxia feedback model.

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