Sensitivity of silicon isotopes to whole-ocean changes in the silica cycle

De La Rocha, C. L. and Bickle, M. J. (2005) Sensitivity of silicon isotopes to whole-ocean changes in the silica cycle. Marine Geology, 217 (3-4). pp. 267-282. DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2004.11.016

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Abstract

A 2-box model has been used to assess the impact of both long- and short-term budgetary imbalance in the silica cycle on the average silicon isotopic composition (δ30Si) of the ocean and marine sediments. Over a 100-ky time span, such as a Quaternary glacial cycle, a sustained change in the riverine flux of silicon to the oceans could alter the average δ30Si of seawater and the average δ30Si of opal outputs by a few hundredths to a few tenths of permil. This would be largely tied to a change in the δ30Si of silicon entering the ocean due to a shift in the proportion of riverine and non-riverine sources of silicon. A doubling of the riverine flux of silicon would have little impact on average marine δ30Si, but a sustained halving of river inputs could interfere with use of δ30Si as a tracer of nutrient utilization. Studies on the longer term focussed on the transition from a high silicic acid to low silicic acid ocean associated with the rise of the diatoms. This transition is marked by drop in the average δ30Si of seawater from greater than + 1.9‰ down to about + 0.8‰. The isotopic composition of diatom opal, however, has an isotopic composition that sticks close to the + 0.8‰ of the inputs and is thus unlikely to provide information about the transition to the low silicic acid ocean of the modern day. However, the δ30Si of opal produced in the deep sea (for example, by sponges) should document this transition.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2005 AREP IA46 IA48 2005 P
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Geology
Volume: 217
Page Range: pp. 267-282
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.margeo.2004.11.016
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2011 16:26
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 09:58
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/1621

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