Radiogenic Hf isotopic composition of continental eolian dust in Pacific Ocean sediments


The inorganic silicate fraction extracted from bulk pelagic sediments from the North Pacific Ocean is eolian dust. It monitors the composition of continental crust exposed to erosion in Asia. 176Lu/177Hf ratios of modern dust are subchondritic between 0.011 and 0.016 but slightly elevated with respect to immature sediments. Modern dust samples display a large range in Hf isotopic composition (IC), -4.70 < epsilon-Hf < +16.45, which encompasses that observed for the time series of DSDP cores 885/886 and piston core LL44-GPC3 extending back to the late Cretaceous. Hafnium and neodymium isotopic results are consistent with a dominantly binary mixture of dust contributed from island arc volcanic material and dust from central Asia. The Hf-Nd isotopic correlation for all modern dust samples, epsilon-Hf= =0.78 epsilon-Nd = +5.66 (n =22, R**2 =0.79), is flatter than those reported so far for terrestrial reservoirs. Moreover, the variability in epsilon-Hf of Asian dust exceeds that predicted on the basis of corresponding epsilon-Nd values (34.76 epsilon-Hf < +2.5; -10.96< epsilon-Nd <-10.1). This is attributed to: (1) the fixing of an important unradiogenic fraction of Hf in zircons, balanced by radiogenic Hf that is mobile in the erosional cycle, (2) the elevated Lu/Hf ratio in chemical sediments which, given time, results in a Hf signature that is radiogenic compared with Hf expected from its corresponding Nd isotopic components, and (3) the possibility that diagenetic resetting of marine sediments may incorporate a significant radiogenic Hf component into diagenetically grown minerals such as illite. Together, these processes may explain the variability and more radiogenic character of Hf isotopes when compared to the Nd isotopic signatures of Asian dust. The Hf-Nd isotope time series of eolian dust are consistent with the results of modern dust except two samples that have extremely radiogenic Hf for their Nd (epsilon-Hf =+8.6 and +10.3, epsilon-Nd =39.5 and 39.8). These data may point to a source contribution of dust unresolved by Nd and Pb isotopes. The Hf IC of eolian dust input to the oceans may be more variable and more radiogenic than previously anticipated. The Hf signature of Pacific seawater, however, has varied little over the past 20 Myr, especially across the drastic increase of eolian dust flux from Asia around 3.5 Ma. Therefore, continental contributions to seawater Hf appear to be riverine rather than eolian. Current predictions regarding the relative proportions of source components to seawater Hf must account for the presence of a variable and radiogenic continental component. Data on the IC and flux of river-dissolved Hf to the oceans are urgently required to better estimate contributions to seawater Hf. This then would permit the use of Hf isotopes as a monitor of past changes in erosion.

Supplement to: Pettke, Thomas; Lee, Der-Chuen; Halliday, Alex N; Rea, David K (2002): Radiogenic Hf isotopic compositions of continental eolian dust from Asia, its variability and its implications for seawater Hf. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 202(2), 253-464

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Metadata Access
Creator Pettke, Thomas ORCID logo; Lee, Der-Chuen ORCID logo; Halliday, Alex N; Rea, David K
Publisher PANGAEA
Publication Year 2002
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported;
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Supplementary Publication Series of Datasets; Collection
Format application/zip
Size 3 datasets
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (-113.957W, 13.868S, 139.983E, 53.700N); North Pacific Ocean; Central North Pacific
Temporal Coverage Begin 1964-06-12T00:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 1992-09-04T10:00:00Z