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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2017-55
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
19 Sep 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).
Clay mineralogy, strontium and neodymium isotope ratios in the sediments of two High Arctic catchments (Svalbard)
Ruth S. Hindshaw1, Nicholas J. Tosca2, Alexander M. Piotrowski1, and Edward T. Tipper1 1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, UK, CB2 3EQ
2Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, UK, OX1 3AN
Abstract. The identification of sediment sources to the ocean is a pre-requisite to using ocean sediment cores to extract information on past climate and ocean circulation. Sr and Nd isotopes are classical tools with which to trace source provenance. Yet, despite considerable interest in the Arctic Ocean, the circum-Arctic source regions are poorly characterised in terms of their Sr and Nd isotopic compositions. In this study we present Sr and Nd isotope data from the Paleogene Central Basin sediments of Svalbard, including the first published data of river sediments from Svalbard.

The bulk sediments exhibit considerable isotopic variation (εNd0 = −24.2 to −11.9; 87Sr/86Sr = 0.72449 to 0.75243) which can be related to the depositional history of the sediments. In combination with analysis of the clay mineralogy of the sediments, we suggest that the Central Basin sediments were derived from two proto sediment sources. One source is Proterozoic sediments derived from Greenland which are rich in illite and have high 87Sr/86Sr and low εNd0 values. The second source is Carboniferous to Jurassic sediments derived from Siberia which are rich in smectite and have low 87Sr/86Sr and high εNd0 values. Due to a change in deposition conditions throughout the Paleogene (from deep-sea to continental) the relative proportions of these two sources varies in the Central Basin formations. The modern river suspended sediment isotopic composition is then controlled by modern processes, in particular glaciation, which determines the present-day exposure of the formations and therefore the relative contribution of each formation to the suspended sediment load. This study demonstrates that the Sr and Nd isotopic composition of river sediment from the continents exhibits significant seasonal variation, which almost certainly mirrors longer-term hydrological changes, with implications for source provenance studies based on fixed sources through time.


Citation: Hindshaw, R. S., Tosca, N. J., Piotrowski, A. M., and Tipper, E. T.: Clay mineralogy, strontium and neodymium isotope ratios in the sediments of two High Arctic catchments (Svalbard), Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2017-55, in review, 2017.
Ruth S. Hindshaw et al.
Ruth S. Hindshaw et al.
Ruth S. Hindshaw et al.

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Short summary
For many applications in Earth Sciences it is important to know where river and ocean sediments have originated. In this study we used geochemical and mineralogical tracers to characterise sediments from Svalbard. We find that the sediments are formed from two sources: old rocks in Greenland and younger rocks in Siberia. Glaciation influences how much of each end-member is present in the river sediments today, implying that the sediment composition can change through time as the climate changes.
For many applications in Earth Sciences it is important to know where river and ocean sediments...
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