Geochemical Perspectives Letters is an internationally peer-reviewed journal of the European Association of Geochemistry,
produced by and for the geochemical community:
Open access
Short (3000 words all inclusive)
Highest-quality articles spanning geochemical sciences

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 Top 10 most viewed articles (cumulative count of HTML views) for the last 60 days.

Emergence of peraluminous crustal magmas and implications for the early Earth

Abstract:
Detrital zircons from the Jack Hills (JH) metasedimentary belt of Western Australia are a record of the first ∼1.5 billion years of Earth history and can be used to help reconstruct the conditions of crust formation and secular changes therein. Beginning as early as ca. 4.3 Ga, but becoming more pronounced in the mid-Archean, a peraluminous signature begins to emerge from the JH zircon record. Combined with trace elements (P, REEs) and Ti-in-zircon thermometry, this increase in peraluminosity is likely the result of deep (>7 kbar) partial melting of hydrous mafic protoliths or partial melting of metasedimentary source material. In a geodynamic context, these results may suggest a gradual shift from a vertical tectonic regime toward a horizontal tectonic regime with potential subduction-like or collisional processes creating the necessary conditions for peraluminous melt generation beginning locally at least by ∼3.6 billion years ago (Ga).

M.R. Ackerson, D. Trail, J. Buettner

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2021) 17, 50–54 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.2114 | Published 14 May 2021

Article views: 5676

An arsenic-driven pump for invisible gold in hydrothermal systems

Abstract:
Pyrite (FeS2), arsenopyrite (FeAsS) and löllingite (FeAs2) are exceptional gold concentrators on Earth; yet the exact redox and structural state of this “invisible” gold and the forces driving its intake and release by these minerals remain highly controversial. Here we applied high resolution X-ray absorption spectroscopy to Au-bearing pyrite and iron sulfarsenides from hydrothermal deposits and their synthetic analogues. We show that Au preferentially enters octahedral Fe structural sites [Au(As,S)6] enriched in As, by forming respectively [AuAs1–3S5–3], [AuAs3S3⋯AuAs6] and [AuAs6] atomic units in arsenian pyrite (>0.1–1.0 wt. % As), arsenopyrite and löllingite, implying a formal oxidation state of AuII in the minerals. In contrast, in As-poor pyrite, Au is dominantly chemisorbed as [AuIS2] moieties in much lower concentrations. Combined with experimental data on Au mineral-fluid partitioning, our findings imply a universal control exerted by arsenic on gold incorporation in iron sulfides and sulfarsenides via coupled Au-As redox reactions. These reactions account for the observed variations in invisible gold contents in the minerals from different hydrothermal deposit types and enable quantitative prediction of iron sulfarsenide ability in controlling gold concentration and distribution in hydrothermal systems.

G.S. Pokrovski, C. Escoda, M. Blanchard, D. Testemale, J.-L. Hazemann, S. Gouy, M.A. Kokh, M.-C. Boiron, F. de Parseval, T. Aigouy, L. Menjot, P. de Parseval, O. Proux, M. Rovezzi, D. Béziat, S. Salvi, K. Kouzmanov, T. Bartsch, R. Pöttgen, T. Doert

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2021) 17, 39–44 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.2112 | Published 20 April 2021

Article views: 1290

Microplastics contaminate the deepest part of the world’s ocean

Abstract:
Millions of metric tons of plastics are produced annually and transported from land to the oceans. Finding the fate of the plastic debris will help define the impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean. Here, we report the abundances of microplastic in the deepest part of the world’s ocean. We found that microplastic abundances in hadal bottom waters range from 2.06 to 13.51 pieces per litre, several times higher than those in open ocean subsurface water. Moreover, microplastic abundances in hadal sediments of the Mariana Trench vary from 200 to 2200 pieces per litre, distinctly higher than those in most deep sea sediments. These results suggest that manmade plastics have contaminated the most remote and deepest places on the planet. The hadal zone is likely one of the largest sinks for microplastic debris on Earth, with unknown but potentially damaging impacts on this fragile ecosystem.

X. Peng, M. Chen, S. Chen, S. Dasgupta, H. Xu, K. Ta, M. Du, J. Li, Z. Guo, S. Bai

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2018) 9, 1–5 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1829 | Published 27 November 2018

Article views: 1271

Rise of major subaerial landmasses about 3.0 to 2.7 billion years ago

Abstract:
The emergence of subaerial landmasses should have inevitably modulated the chemical composition of the atmosphere-ocean and long term climate. However, it remains controversial when major subaerial landmasses first emerged in Earth’s history. Here we show that the mean K/La of globally continental mafic volcanic rocks declined from a fairly high value (∼2125) to a magmatic background (∼582, indicated by continental mafic plutonic rocks) during 3.0–2.7 Ga. It can only be explained by a progressive reduction in the proportion of submarine hydrothermally altered mafic volcanic samples and thus records a gradual rise of major subaerial landmasses from 3.0 to 2.7 Ga, likely to a present day level since 2.7 Ga. The rise and maintaining of major subaerial landmasses were intrinsically controlled by a dynamic balance of mountain building processes dominantly driven by plate tectonics and subsidence due to weathering erosion and thermal relaxation.

C.-T. Liu, Y.-S. He

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2021) 18, 1–5 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.2115 | Published 25 May 2021

Article views: 1009

SHRIMP 4-S isotope systematics of two pyrite generations in the 3.49 Ga Dresser Formation

Abstract:
The 3.49 Ga Dresser Formation has been considered to host evidence of the earliest microbes metabolising sulfur species on Earth. However, previous bulk analyses and in situ measurements conclude disparate metabolisms based on opposite Δ33S1. This study first established the generations of pyrite growth, and then measured the multiple sulfur isotopes in situ using Sensitive High Resolution Ion MicroProbe-Stable Isotope analyses. Two main generations of pyrite were revealed based on core-rim textures and multiple sulfur isotopic compositions: Δ33S-positive Generation One (G1) and δ34S- and Δ33S-negative Generation Two (G2). In the chert-barite unit, the diluted Δ33S-positive and Δ33S-negative photochemical products were mainly sequestered in G1 and barite, respectively. G2 were formed via the sulfide pathway with sulfur derived from sulfate reduction and magmatic H2S. The δ34S-Δ33S-Δ36S1 systematics suggests an abiological origin for G1, and thermochemical and possible (minor) microbial sulfate reduction for G2.
1Δ33S and Δ36S quantify the magnitudes of sulfur mass-independent fractionations (S-MIFs) during a reaction, which are the deviations of the 34S/32S, 33S/32S, and 36S/32S isotopic ratios from those expected solely based on their mass differences (see section 3.2 in the Supplementary Information).

L. Liu, T.R. Ireland, P. Holden

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2021) 17, 45–49 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.2113 | Published 10 May 2021

Article views: 907

A genetic metasomatic link between eclogitic and peridotitic diamond inclusions

Abstract:
Diamond inclusions sample the otherwise inaccessible archive of Earth’s deep interior. The geochemical and petrological diversity of diamond inclusions reflects either pre-metasomatic upper mantle heterogeneity or metasomatism coeval with diamond formation. We focus on the origin of lithospheric garnet and clinopyroxene inclusions by simulating metasomatic reactions between eclogitic fluids and mantle peridotites at 5 GPa, 1000 °C, and across a range of redox conditions (logfO2 = −1 to −6 ΔFMQ). Our results demonstrate that fluid-rock interaction can result in the formation of eclogitic, websteritic, and peridotitic silicates from a single fluid during a single diamond-forming metasomatic event. Ergo, the petrogenesis of diamond and their inclusions can be syngenetic, and the petrological diversity of diamond inclusions can reflect metasomatism coeval with diamond formation. Furthermore, during the metasomatism, refractory peridotite can be converted to fertile websterite which could become a pyroxenitic mantle source for oceanic basalts.

S. Mikhail, M. Rinaldi, E.R. Mare, D.A. Sverjensky

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2021) 17, 33–38 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.2111 | Published 24 March 2021

Article views: 867

Global climate stabilisation by chemical weathering during the Hirnantian glaciation

Abstract:
Chemical weathering of silicate rocks is a primary drawdown mechanism of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The processes that affect weathering are therefore central in controlling global climate. A temperature-controlled “weathering thermostat” has long been proposed in stabilising long-term climate, but without definitive evidence from the geologic record. Here we use lithium isotopes (δ7Li) to assess the impact of silicate weathering across a significant climate-cooling period, the end-Ordovician Hirnantian glaciation (~445 Ma). We find a positive δ7Li excursion, suggestive of a silicate weathering decline. Using a coupled lithium-carbon model, we show that initiation of the glaciation was likely caused by declining CO2 degassing, which triggered abrupt global cooling, and much lower weathering rates. This lower CO2 drawdown during the glaciation allowed climatic recovery and deglaciation. Combined, the data and model provide support from the geological record for the operation of the weathering thermostat.

P.A.E. Pogge von Strandmann, A. Desrochers, M.J. Murphy, A.J. Finlay, D. Selby, T.M. Lenton

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2017) 3, 230–237 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1726 | Published 15 June 2017

Article views: 772

The effect of warming climate on nutrient and solute export from the Greenland Ice Sheet

Abstract:
Glacial meltwater runoff is likely an important source of limiting nutrients for downstream primary producers. This has particular significance for regions surrounding the Greenland Ice Sheet, which discharges >400 km3 of meltwater annually. The Arctic is warming rapidly but the impact of higher discharge on nutrient export is unknown. We present four years of hydrological and geochemical data from a large Greenland Ice Sheet catchment that includes the two highest melt years on record (2010, 2012). Measurements reveal significant variation in dissolved solute (major ion) and estimated dissolved macronutrient (nitrogen, phosphorus and silica) fluxes, with increases in higher melt years. Labile particulate macronutrients dominate nutrient export, accounting for ~50 % of nitrogen and >80 % of both phosphorus and silica. The response of ice sheet nutrient export to enhanced melting is largely controlled by particle bound nutrients, the future supply of which is uncertain. We propose that the Greenland Ice Sheet provides an underappreciated and annually dynamic source of nutrients for the polar oceans, with changes in meltwater discharge likely to impact marine primary productivity in future decades.

J.R. Hawkings, J.L. Wadham, M. Tranter, E. Lawson, A. Sole, T. Cowton, A.J. Tedstone, I. Bartholomew, P. Nienow, D. Chandler, J. Telling

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2015) 1, 94–104 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1510 | Published 23 June 2015

Article views: 650

The composition and weathering of the continents over geologic time

Abstract:
The composition of continental crust records the balance between construction by tectonics and destruction by physical and chemical erosion. Quantitative constraints on how igneous addition and chemical weathering have modified the continents’ bulk composition are essential for understanding the evolution of geodynamics and climate. Using novel data analytic techniques we have extracted temporal trends in sediments’ protolith composition and weathering intensity from the largest available compilation of sedimentary major element compositions: ∼15,000 samples from 4.0 Ga to the present. We find that the average Archean upper continental crust was silica-rich and had a similar compositional diversity to modern continents. This is consistent with an early Archean, or earlier, onset of plate tectonics. In the Archean, chemical weathering sequestered ∼25 % more CO2 per mass eroded for the same weathering intensity than in subsequent time periods, consistent with carbon mass balance despite higher Archean outgassing rates and more limited continental exposure. Since 2.0 Ga, over long (>0.5 Gyr) timescales, crustal weathering intensity has remained relatively constant. On shorter timescales over the Phanerozoic, weathering intensity is correlated to global climate state, consistent with a weathering feedback acting in response to changes in CO2 sources or sinks.

A.G. Lipp, O. Shorttle, E.A. Sperling, J.J. Brocks, D.B. Cole, P.W. Crockford, L. Del Mouro, K. Dewing, S.Q. Dornbos, J.F. Emmings, U.C. Farrell, A. Jarrett, B.W. Johnson, P. Kabanov, C.B. Keller, M. Kunzmann, A.J. Miller, N.T. Mills, B. O’Connell, S.E. Peters, N.J. Planavsky, S.R. Ritzer, S.D. Schoepfer, P.R. Wilby, J. Yang

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2021) 17, 21–26 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.2109 | Published 2 March 2021

Article views: 644

Ca isotope systematics of carbonatites: Insights into carbonatite source and evolution

Abstract:
Carbonatite, an unusual carbonate-rich igneous rock, is known to be sourced from the mantle which provides insights into mantle-to-crust carbon transfer. To constrain further the Ca isotopic composition of carbonatites, investigate the behaviour of Ca isotopes during their evolution, and constrain whether recycled carbonates are involved in their source regions, we report δ44/42Ca for 47 worldwide carbonatite and associated silicate rocks using a refined analytical protocol. Our results show that primary carbonatite and associated silicate rocks are rather homogeneous in Ca isotope compositions that are comparable to δ44/42Ca values of basalts, while non-primary carbonatites show detectable δ44/42Ca variations that are correlated to δ13C values. Our finding suggests that Ca isotopes fractionate during late stages of carbonatite evolution, making it a useful tool in the study of carbonatite evolution. The finding also implies that carbonatite is sourced from a mantle source without requiring the involvement of recycled carbonates.

J. Sun, X.-K. Zhu, N.S. Belshaw, W. Chen, A.G. Doroshkevich, W.-J. Luo, W.-L. Song, B.-B. Chen, Z.-G. Cheng, Z.-H. Li, Y. Wang, J. Kynicky, G.M. Henderson

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2021) 17, 11–15 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.2107 | Published 17 February 2021

Article views: 618

 Top 10 most viewed articles (cumulative count of HTML views) for all time.

Microplastics contaminate the deepest part of the world’s ocean

Abstract:
Millions of metric tons of plastics are produced annually and transported from land to the oceans. Finding the fate of the plastic debris will help define the impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean. Here, we report the abundances of microplastic in the deepest part of the world’s ocean. We found that microplastic abundances in hadal bottom waters range from 2.06 to 13.51 pieces per litre, several times higher than those in open ocean subsurface water. Moreover, microplastic abundances in hadal sediments of the Mariana Trench vary from 200 to 2200 pieces per litre, distinctly higher than those in most deep sea sediments. These results suggest that manmade plastics have contaminated the most remote and deepest places on the planet. The hadal zone is likely one of the largest sinks for microplastic debris on Earth, with unknown but potentially damaging impacts on this fragile ecosystem.

X. Peng, M. Chen, S. Chen, S. Dasgupta, H. Xu, K. Ta, M. Du, J. Li, Z. Guo, S. Bai

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2018) 9, 1–5 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1829 | Published 27 November 2018

Article views: 30421

Global climate stabilisation by chemical weathering during the Hirnantian glaciation

Abstract:
Chemical weathering of silicate rocks is a primary drawdown mechanism of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The processes that affect weathering are therefore central in controlling global climate. A temperature-controlled “weathering thermostat” has long been proposed in stabilising long-term climate, but without definitive evidence from the geologic record. Here we use lithium isotopes (δ7Li) to assess the impact of silicate weathering across a significant climate-cooling period, the end-Ordovician Hirnantian glaciation (~445 Ma). We find a positive δ7Li excursion, suggestive of a silicate weathering decline. Using a coupled lithium-carbon model, we show that initiation of the glaciation was likely caused by declining CO2 degassing, which triggered abrupt global cooling, and much lower weathering rates. This lower CO2 drawdown during the glaciation allowed climatic recovery and deglaciation. Combined, the data and model provide support from the geological record for the operation of the weathering thermostat.

P.A.E. Pogge von Strandmann, A. Desrochers, M.J. Murphy, A.J. Finlay, D. Selby, T.M. Lenton

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2017) 3, 230–237 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1726 | Published 15 June 2017

Article views: 29144

Copper isotope evidence for large-scale sulphide fractionation during Earth’s differentiation

Abstract:
The differentiation of Earth into a metallic core and silicate mantle left its signature on the chemical and isotopic composition of the bulk silicate Earth (BSE). This is seen in the depletion of siderophile (metal-loving) relative to lithophile (rock-loving) elements in Earth’s mantle as well as the silicon isotope offset between primitive meteorites (i.e. bulk Earth) and BSE, which is generally interpreted as a proof that Si is present in Earth’s core. Another putative light element in Earth’s core is sulphur; however, estimates of core S abundance vary significantly and, due to its volatile nature, no unequivocal S isotopic signature for core fractionation has thus far been detected. Here we present new high precision isotopic data for Cu, a chalcophile (sulphur-loving) element, which shows that Earth’s mantle is isotopically fractionated relative to bulk Earth. Results from high pressure equilibration experiments suggest that the sense of Cu isotopic fractionation between BSE and bulk Earth requires that a sulphide-rich liquid segregated from Earth’s mantle during differentiation, which likely entered the core. Such an early-stage removal of a sulphide-rich phase from the mantle presents a possible solution to the long-standing 1st terrestrial lead paradox.

P.S. Savage, F. Moynier, H. Chen, J. Siebert, J. Badro, I.S. Puchtel, G. Shofner

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2015) 1, 53–64 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1506 | Published 4 June 2015

Article views: 22583

Oxygenation of the mid-Proterozoic atmosphere: clues from chromium isotopes in carbonates

Abstract:
Chromium (Cr) isotopes in marine sedimentary rocks can be used as a sensitive proxy for ancient atmospheric oxygen because Cr-isotope fractionation during terrestrial weathering only occurs when pO2 exceeds a threshold value. This is a useful system when applied to rocks of mid-Proterozoic age, where fundamental questions persist about atmospheric pO2 and its relationship to biological innovation. Whereas previous studies have focused on temporally limited iron-rich sedimentary rocks, we present new Cr-isotope data from a suite of mid-Proterozoic marine carbonate rocks. Application of the Cr-isotope proxy to carbonate rocks has the potential to greatly enhance the temporal resolution of Proterozoic palaeo-redox data. Here we report positive δ53Cr values in four carbonate successions, extending the mid-Proterozoic record of Cr-isotope fractionation – and thus pO2 above threshold values – back to ~1.1 Ga. These data suggest that pO2 sufficient for the origin of animals was transiently in place well before their Neoproterozoic appearance, although uncertainty in the pO2 threshold required for Cr-isotope fractionation precludes definitive biological interpretation. This study provides a proof of concept that the Cr-isotopic composition of carbonate rocks can provide important new constraints on the oxygen content of the ancient atmosphere.

G.J. Gilleaudeau, R. Frei, A.J. Kaufman, L.C. Kah, K. Azmy, J.K. Bartley, P. Chernyavskiy, A.H. Knoll

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2016) 2, 178–187 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1618 | Published 24 May 2016

Article views: 20654

Release of subducted sedimentary nitrogen throughout Earth’s mantle

Abstract:
The dynamic process of subduction represents the principal means to introduce chemical heterogeneities into Earth's interior. In the case of nitrogen (N) - atmosphere's most abundant gas - biological-activity converts N2 into ammonium ions (NH4+), which are chemically-bound within seafloor sediments and altered oceanic crust that comprise the subducting slab. Although some subducted N re-emerges via arc-related volcanism (Sano et al., 1998), the majority likely bypasses sub-arc depths (150-200 km) and supplies the deeper mantle (Li et al., 2007; Mitchell et al., 2010; Johnson and Goldblatt, 2015; Bebout et al., 2016). However, the fate of subducted N remains enigmatic: is it incorporated by the shallow convecting mantle - the source of ridge volcanism, or is the deeper mantle - nominally associated with mantle plumes - its ultimate repository? Here, we present N-He-Ne-Ar isotope data for oceanic basalts from the Central Indian Ridge (CIR)-Réunion plume region to address this issue. All on-axis samples with depleted MORB mantle (DMM) affinities (3He/4He = 8 ± 1 RA; Graham, 2002) have low N-isotopes (mean δ15N = -2.1 ‰), whereas those with plume-like 3He/4He display higher values (mean δ15N = 1.3 ‰). We explain these data within the framework of a new mantle reference model to predict a time-integrated net N regassing flux to the mantle of ~3.4 × 1010 mol/yr, with the plume-source mantle representing the preferential destination by a factor of 2-3. The model has implications for the present-day imbalance between N subducted at trenches and N emitted via arc-related volcanism, the N-content of Earth's early atmosphere, as well as relationships between N2 and the noble gases in mantle reservoirs, including 3He/4He-δ15N relationships in plume-derived lavas.

P.H. Barry, D.R. Hilton

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2016) 2, 148–159 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1615 | Published 3 May 2016

Article views: 20350

182W evidence for core-mantle interaction in the source of mantle plumes

Abstract:
Tungsten isotopes are the ideal tracers of core-mantle chemical interaction. Given that W is moderately siderophile, it preferentially partitioned into the Earth’s core during its segregation, leaving the mantle depleted in this element. In contrast, Hf is lithophile, and its short-lived radioactive isotope 182Hf decayed entirely to 182W in the mantle after metal-silicate segregation. Therefore, the 182W isotopic composition of the Earth’s mantle and its core are expected to differ by about 200 ppm. Here, we report new high precision W isotope data for mantle-derived rock samples from the Paleoarchean Pilbara Craton, and the Réunion Island and the Kerguelen Archipelago hotspots. Together with other available data, they reveal a temporal shift in the 182W isotopic composition of the mantle that is best explained by core-mantle chemical interaction. Core-mantle exchange might be facilitated by diffusive isotope exchange at the core-mantle boundary, or the exsolution of W-rich, Si-Mg-Fe oxides from the core into the mantle. Tungsten-182 isotope compositions of mantle-derived magmas are similar from 4.3 to 2.7 Ga and decrease afterwards. This change could be related to the onset of the crystallisation of the inner core or to the initiation of post-Archean deep slab subduction that more efficiently mixed the mantle.

H. Rizo, D. Andrault, N.R. Bennett, M. Humayun, A. Brandon, I. Vlastelic, B. Moine, A. Poirier, M.A. Bouhifd, D.T. Murphy

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2019) 11, 6–11 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1917 | Published 20 June 2019

Article views: 18516

Rapid response of silicate weathering rates to climate change in the Himalaya

Abstract:
Chemical weathering of continental rocks plays a central role in regulating the carbon cycle and the Earth's climate (Walker et al., 1981; Berner et al., 1983), accounting for nearly half the consumption of atmospheric carbon dioxide globally (Beaulieu et al., 2012). However, the role of climate variability on chemical weathering is still strongly debated. Here we focus on the Himalayan range and use the lithium isotopic composition of clays in fluvial terraces to show a tight coupling between climate change and chemical weathering over the past 40 ka. Between 25 and 10 ka ago, weathering rates decrease despite temperature increase and monsoon intensification. This suggests that at this timescale, temperature plays a secondary role compared to runoff and physical erosion, which inhibit chemical weathering by accelerating sediment transport and act as fundamental controls in determining the feedback between chemical weathering and atmospheric carbon dioxide.

A. Dosseto, N. Vigier, R. Joannes-Boyau, I. Moffat, T. Singh, P. Srivastava

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2015) 1, 10–19 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1502 | Published 20 February 2015

Article views: 18348

Molecular hydrogen in mantle minerals

Abstract:
Current models assume that hydrogen was delivered to Earth already in oxidised form as water or OH groups in minerals; similarly, it is generally believed that hydrogen is stored in the present mantle mostly as OH. Here we show by experiments at 2-7 GPa and 1100-1300 °C that, under reducing conditions, molecular hydrogen (H2) has an appreciable solubility in various upper mantle minerals. This observation suggests that during the accretion of the Earth, nebular H2 could have been delivered to the growing solid planet by direct dissolution in a magma ocean and subsequent incorporation in silicates. Moreover, the presence of dissolved molecular H2 in the minerals of the lower mantle could explain why magmas sourced in this region are rich in hydrogen, despite the fact that lower mantle minerals contain almost no OH groups.

X. Yang, H. Keppler, Y. Li

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2016) 2, 160–168 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1616 | Published 18 March 2016

Article views: 18968

Environmental pressure from the 2014–15 eruption of Bárðarbunga volcano, Iceland

Abstract:
The effusive six months long 2014‒2015 Bárðarbunga eruption (31 August‒27 February) was the largest in Iceland for more than 200 years, producing 1.6 ± 0.3 km3 of lava. The total SO2 emission was 11.8 ± 5 Mt, more than the amount emitted from Europe in 2011. The ground level concentration of SO2 exceeded the 350 µg m3 hourly average health limit over much of Iceland for days to weeks. Anomalously high SO2 concentrations were also measured at several locations in Europe in September. The lowest pH of fresh snowmelt at the eruption site was 3.3, and 3.2 in precipitation 105 km away from the source. Elevated dissolved H2SO4, HCl, HF, and metal concentrations were measured in snow and precipitation. Environmental pressures from the eruption and impacts on populated areas were reduced by its remoteness, timing, and the weather. The anticipated primary environmental pressure is on the surface waters, soils, and vegetation of Iceland.

S.R. Gíslason, G. Stefánsdóttir, M.A. Pfeffer, S. Barsotti, Th. Jóhannsson, I. Galeczka, E. Bali, O. Sigmarsson, A. Stefánsson, N.S. Keller, Á. Sigurdsson, B. Bergsson, B. Galle, V.C. Jacobo, S. Arellano, A. Aiuppa, E.B. Jónasdóttir, E.S. Eiríksdóttir, S. Jakobsson, G.H. Guðfinnsson, S.A. Halldórsson, H. Gunnarsson, B. Haddadi, I. Jónsdóttir, Th. Thordarson, M. Riishuus, Th. Högnadóttir, T. Dürig, G.B.M. Pedersen, Á. Höskuldsson, M.T. Gudmundsson

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2015) 1, 84–93 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1509 | Published 29 June 2015

Article views: 17915

The effect of warming climate on nutrient and solute export from the Greenland Ice Sheet

Abstract:
Glacial meltwater runoff is likely an important source of limiting nutrients for downstream primary producers. This has particular significance for regions surrounding the Greenland Ice Sheet, which discharges >400 km3 of meltwater annually. The Arctic is warming rapidly but the impact of higher discharge on nutrient export is unknown. We present four years of hydrological and geochemical data from a large Greenland Ice Sheet catchment that includes the two highest melt years on record (2010, 2012). Measurements reveal significant variation in dissolved solute (major ion) and estimated dissolved macronutrient (nitrogen, phosphorus and silica) fluxes, with increases in higher melt years. Labile particulate macronutrients dominate nutrient export, accounting for ~50 % of nitrogen and >80 % of both phosphorus and silica. The response of ice sheet nutrient export to enhanced melting is largely controlled by particle bound nutrients, the future supply of which is uncertain. We propose that the Greenland Ice Sheet provides an underappreciated and annually dynamic source of nutrients for the polar oceans, with changes in meltwater discharge likely to impact marine primary productivity in future decades.

J.R. Hawkings, J.L. Wadham, M. Tranter, E. Lawson, A. Sole, T. Cowton, A.J. Tedstone, I. Bartholomew, P. Nienow, D. Chandler, J. Telling

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Geochem. Persp. Let. (2015) 1, 94–104 | doi: 10.7185/geochemlet.1510 | Published 23 June 2015

Article views: 16315