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Closing in on the marine 238U/235U budget

Andersen, Morten ORCID:, Vance, D., Morford, J. L., Bura-Nakic, E., Breitenbach, S. F .M. and Och, L. 2016. Closing in on the marine 238U/235U budget. Chemical Geology 420 , pp. 11-22. 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2015.10.041

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Significant redox-driven variability in the ratio between the two long-lived U parent isotopes, 238U and 235U, has recently been discovered. Thus, the 238U/235U system provides a promising new tool to evaluate redox changes in the past using the geological record. For such reconstruction to be successful, however, the modern marine U isotope cycle needs to be quantified. Here we compile U isotope ratios for the global dissolved riverine U flux. A total of 30 river samples covering a range of catchment sizes, latitudes, climates and continents were measured. Although variability is observed, the mean 238U/235U in the dissolved riverine U flux entering the ocean is close to the average for the continental crust, suggesting only minor 238U/235U fractionation during U weathering and transport. This riverine data is complemented by U isotope data in reducing sediments, the main oceanic U sink. Reducing sediments from an oxygen minimum zone off the coast of Washington State USA, show authigenic U accumulation with elevated 238U/235U compared to seawater, consistent with observations in other reducing marine sediments. However, these data also highlight that isotope partitioning between sediment and pore-water can cause variability in the 238U/235U of the accumulated authigenic U. The new data from this study, placed in the context of the growing body of data on modern marine U isotope cycling, suggest that U could be at steady-state in the modern ocean.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: Available online 1 November 2015
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0009-2541
Date of Acceptance: 30 October 2015
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2022 09:19

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