Bathyal records of enhanced silicate erosion and weathering on the exposed Luzon shelf during glacial lowstands and their significance for atmospheric CO2 sink

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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. We present a new high-resolution multiproxy data set of mass accumulation rates, Sr-Nd isotopes, as well as major and trace elements for the siliciclastic sediment fraction from International Marine Global Change Study Core MD06-3052, located on the continental slope of the western Philippine Sea. We integrate our new data with published grain sizes and sea surface temperatures from the same core, as well as with Equatorial Pacific sea level, and East Asian summer monsoon precipitation, in order to constrain at high-resolution changes in physical erosion and chemical weathering intensities on Luzon, and sediment source-to-sink processes. We assess the potential significance of chemical weathering of arc silicates in regulating global atmospheric CO2 since 156 kyr BP. Sr-Nd isotopes show that the siliciclastic sediments were dominantly sourced from volcanic rocks exposed on Luzon (~ 68–100%), with a lesser contribution from Asian dust (~ 0–32%). Different indices indicate that stronger physical erosion and chemical weathering occurred during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 6 (130–156 kyr BP), as well as in the latter stage of MIS 3 and MIS 2 (14–40 kyr BP). The large sea-level lowstands and associated significant exposure of continental shelf in the western Philippine Sea during these two cold periods should favor physical erosion and chemical weathering of unconsolidated sediments on the exposed shelf. Furthermore, we notice the relatively good coherence between chemical weathering intensities on Luzon and global atmospheric CO2 concentrations over these cold intervals. We suggest that strengthening of chemical weathering of silicates on Luzon and other tropical arcs (within 20° of the Equator) during the Quaternary glacial sea-level lowstands may significantly contribute to the lowering of atmospheric CO2 concentrations during ice ages. We estimate that a significant fraction, up to ~ 16% (i.e., ~ 8 ppmv), of all atmospheric CO2 ultimately sequestered by silicate weathering may be processed through an area corresponding to only ~ 1% of the exorheic drainage area worldwide.

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Chemical Geology

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