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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Prof. Dave Selby

Du Vivier, Alice D. C., Jacobson, Andrew D., Lehn, Gregory O., Selby, David, Hurtgen, Matthew T. & Sageman, Bradley B. (2015). Ca isotope stratigraphy across the Cenomanian–Turonian OAE 2: Links between volcanism, seawater geochemistry, and the carbonate fractionation factor. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 416: 121-131.

Author(s) from Durham


The Ca isotope composition of marine carbonate rocks offers potential to reconstruct drivers of environmental change in the geologic past. This study reports new, high-precision Ca isotope records (View the MathML source; 2σSD=±0.04‰) for three sections spanning a major perturbation to the Cretaceous ocean-climate system known as Ocean Anoxic Event 2 (OAE 2): central Colorado, USA (Portland #1 core), southeastern France (Pont d'Issole), and Hokkaido, Japan (Oyubari, Yezo Group). In addition, we generated new data for selected samples from Eastbourne, England (English Chalk), where a previous Ca isotope study was completed using different methodology (Blättler et al., 2011). Strata of the Yezo Group contain little carbonate (∼1 wt.% on average) and accordingly did not yield a clear View the MathML source signal. The Portland core and the Pont d'Issole section display comparable View the MathML source values, which increase by ∼0.10–0.15‰ at the onset of OAE 2 and then decrease to near-initial values across the event. The Eastbourne View the MathML source values are higher than previously reported. They are also higher than the View the MathML source values for the Portland core and the Pont d'Issole section but define a similar pattern. According to a numerical model of the marine Ca cycle, elevated hydrothermal inputs have little impact on seawater View the MathML source values. Elevated riverine (chemical weathering) inputs produce a transient negative isotope excursion, which significantly differs from the positive isotope excursions observed in the Portland, Pont d'Issole, and Eastbourne records. A decrease in the magnitude of the carbonate fractionation factor provides the best explanation for a positive shift in View the MathML source values, especially given the rapid nature of the excursion. Because a decrease in the fractionation factor corresponds to an increase in the Ca/CO3 ratio of seawater, we tentatively attribute the positive Ca isotope excursion to transient ocean acidification, i.e., a reduction in the concentration of View the MathML source during CO2 uptake. Recent studies utilizing a variety of isotope proxies, e.g., Nd, Os, and Pb, implicate eruption of the Caribbean Large Igneous Province as a likely source of increased CO2. Moreover, integration of C, Ca, and Os isotope data reveals new information about the timing of events during the onset of OAE 2.