Roberts, Natalie L.; Piotrowski, Alexander M.; Elderfield, Henry; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Lomas, Michael W. (2012): Rare earth element association with Foraminifera. Elsevier, New York, NY, International, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 94, 57-71, georefid:2012-095610

Neodymium isotopes are becoming widely used as a palaeoceanographic tool for reconstructing the source and flow direction of water masses. A new method using planktonic foraminifera which have not been chemically cleaned has proven to be a promising means of avoiding contamination of the deep ocean palaeoceanographic signal by detrital material. However, the exact mechanism by which the Nd isotope signal from bottom waters becomes associated with planktonic foraminifera, the spatial distribution of rare earth element (REE) concentrations within the shell, and the possible mobility of REE ions during changing redox conditions, have not been fully investigated. Here we present REE concentration and Nd isotope data from mixed species of planktonic foraminifera taken from plankton tows, sediment traps and a sediment core from the NW Atlantic. We used multiple geochemical techniques to evaluate how, where and when REEs become associated with planktonic foraminifera as they settle through the water column, reside at the surface and are buried in the sediment. Analyses of foraminifera shells from plankton tows and sediment traps between 200 and 2938 m water depth indicate that only approximately 20% of their associated Nd is biogenically incorporated into the calcite structure. The remaining 80% is associated with authigenic metal oxides and organic matter, which form in the water column, and remain extraneous to the carbonate structure. Remineralisation of these organic and authigenic phases releases ions back into solution and creates new binding sites, allowing the Nd isotope ratio to undergo partial equilibration with the ambient seawater, as the foraminifera fall through the water column. Analyses of fossil foraminifera shells from sediment cores show that their REE concentrations increase by up to 10-fold at the sediment-water interface, and acquire an isotopic signature of bottom water. Adsorption and complexation of REE (super 3+) ions between the inner layers of calcite contributes significantly to elevated REE concentrations in foraminifera. The most likely source of REE ions at this stage of enrichment is from bottom waters and from the remineralisation of oxide phases which are in chemical equilibrium with the bottom waters. As planktonic foraminifera are buried below the sediment-water interface redox-sensitive ion concentrations are adjusted within the shells depending on the pore-water oxygen concentration. The concentration of ions which are passively redox sensitive, such as REE (super 3+) ions, is also controlled to some extent by this process. We infer that (a) the Nd isotope signature of bottom water is preserved in planktonic foraminifera and (b) that it relies on the limited mobility of particle reactive REE (super 3+) ions, aided in some environments by micron-scale precipitation of MnCO (sub 3) . This study indicates that there may be sedimentary environments under which the bottom water Nd isotope signature is not preserved by planktonic foraminifera. Tests to validate other core sites must be carried out before downcore records can be used to interpret palaeoceanographic changes. Abstract Copyright (2012) Elsevier, B.V.
West: -74.2759 East: -55.0000 North: 40.0000 South: 30.0000
Expedition: 172
Site: 172-1060
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