Hafnium and neodymium isotopes in surface waters of the eastern Atlantic Ocean: Implications for sources and inputs of trace metals to the ocean

Rickli, J, Frank, M, Baker, AR ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8365-8953, Aciego, S, De Souza, G, Georg, RB and Halliday, AN (2010) Hafnium and neodymium isotopes in surface waters of the eastern Atlantic Ocean: Implications for sources and inputs of trace metals to the ocean. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 74 (2). pp. 540-557.

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We present hafnium (Hf) and neodymium (Nd) isotopic compositions and concentrations in surface waters of the eastern Atlantic Ocean between the coast of Spain and South-Africa. These data are complemented by Hf and Nd isotopic and concentration data, as well as rare earth element (REE) concentrations, in Saharan dust. Hafnium concentrations range between a maximum of 0.52 pmol/kg in the area of the Canary Islands and a minimum value of 0.08 pmol/kg in the southern Angola Basin. Neodymium concentrations also show a local maximum in the area of the Canary Islands (26 pmol/kg) but are even higher between 20°N and 4°N reaching maximum concentrations of 35 pmol/kg. These elevated concentrations provide evidence of inputs from weathering of the Canary Islands and from the partial dissolution of dust from the Sahara/Sahel region. The inputs from ocean island weathering are also reflected in radiogenic Hf and Nd isotopes. The Hf isotopic compositions of dust samples themselves are highly variable, ranging between eHf = -20 and -0.6. The combined Hf and Nd isotopic compositions of dust plot close to the “terrestrial array” during periods of appreciable dust load in the atmosphere. During low atmospheric dust loading combined Hf and Nd isotopic compositions similar to seawater are observed. Most of the variability can be explained in terms of variable degrees of zircon loss from the dust samples, which in turn is linked to sorting during atmospheric transport to the eastern Atlantic Ocean and possibly presorting by sedimentary redistribution on the continent. In addition, increasing relative proportions of radiogenic clay minerals with decreasing grain size may contribute to the radiogenic Hf isotopic compositions observed. While the Nd isotopic composition in the surface ocean reflects the Nd isotopic composition of the Saharan dust adjacent to the Sahara/Sahel region, the release of Hf from that dust appears to be incongruent and results in surface ocean Hf isotopic compositions which are 10 eHf more radiogenic than the bulk dust. Radiogenic Hf appears to be released from clays and possibly from trace apatite. Rare earth element patterns of dust samples indicate the presence of apatite but provide no evidence for ferromanganese grain coatings, suggesting that such coatings are insignificant in the release of Hf and Nd from Saharan dust to the surface ocean. The Nd isotopic composition of the surface waters becomes less radiogenic south of the equator, most likely reflecting the release of Nd from Congo river sediments. The release of Hf from Saharan dust and the Congo river sediments, however, does not produce distinct Hf isotopic signatures in the surface ocean, implying that the mobile fraction of Hf integrated over large continental areas is isotopically uniform. The Hf isotopic uniformity in the surface ocean means that the limited variability in deep water isotopic compositions is consistent with a short deep water residence time and reflects homogenous continental inputs rather than efficient deep water homogenization.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Depositing User: Rosie Cullington
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2011 13:46
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2023 13:33
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/20402
DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2009.10.006

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