Circum-Antarctic Nd isotope variability during the last 30 kyrs

Monday, 15 December 2014
Torben Struve1, Tina van de Flierdt1, Sophia K Hines2, Andrea Burke3, Jess F Adkins2, Laura F Robinson4, Kirsty C Crocket5 and Maureen E Auro6, (1)Imperial College London, London, SW7, United Kingdom, (2)California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)University of St Andrews, St Andrews, KY16, United Kingdom, (4)University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom, (5)Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, United Kingdom, (6)WHOI, Woods Hole, MA, United States
The modern Southern Ocean is a key area for the global ocean circulation as wind-driven mixing, upwelling and redistribution of water masses in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) all have a significant impact on the properties and flow patterns of global water masses. It has been suggested that the Southern Ocean plays a critical role in oceanographic and climatic changes observed on glacial-interglacial timescales, in particular with respect to carbon sequestration between the deep ocean and the atmosphere.

For the purpose of unravelling Southern Ocean water mass composition at intermediate depth during the past 30 kyrs, we here utilise the Nd isotopic composition of the aragonitic skeletons of solitary deep-sea corals. These corals were collected from two locations, the Drake Passage and the area south of Tasmania, and from water depths between 300 and 1750 m. Modern coral specimen were calibrated against nearby seawater.

Neodymium was collected from the wash fraction of the anion-exchange column, which represents the first step in preparing samples for precise U-series dating. Subsequent Nd separation utilised a two-stage ion chromatography (RE-spec/cation exchange and Ln-spec resins). Isotopic analyses were performed as NdO+ on a Triton TIMS using a TaF5 activator on W filaments yielding 2σ external reproducibilities of ~20 ppm.

(Sub-) millenial scale deep-sea coral neodymium isotope results from the Drake Passage suggest that the modern homogenous ACC neodymium isotopic composition of εNd≈ -8 is a very recent feature. During the past 30 kyrs Nd isotope variability on the order of two epsilon units are observed at intermediate water depths as well as repeated changes in water column stratification. We will discuss our new results in the context of other Southern Ocean records, as well as preliminary Nd isotope data from glacial to deglacial deep-sea corals from south of Tasmania in order to constrain the last glacial to deglacial circum-Antarctic Nd isotope evolution.