Modelling 3D Chemical Weathering Evolution Using Dissolving and Moving Clasts in a Landscape Evolution Model

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Sebastien Carretier1, Javier Martinez2, Pierre Martinod1, Martin Reich3 and Yves Godderis4, (1)GET Géosciences Environnement Toulouse, IRD, Toulouse, France, (2)University of Chile, Santiago, Chile, (3)University of Chile, Department of Geology and Andean Geothermal Center of Excellence (CEGA), Santiago, Chile, (4)GET CNRS, Toulouse, France
During mountain uplift, fresh silicate rocks are exhumed and broken into small pieces, potentially increasing their chemical weathering rate and thus the consumption of atmospheric CO2. This process remains debated because although erosion provides fresh rocks, it may also decrease their residence time near Earth's surface where clasts weather. Several recent publications also emphasized the key role of forelands in the weathering of clasts exported from the mountains by erosion. Predicting the chemical outflux of mountains requires to account for the chemical evolution of these rocks from their source to outlet. Powerful chemical models based on diffusion-advection of species between rocks and water have been developed at pedon scale, and recently at hillslope scale. In order to track the weathered material, we have developed a different approach based on the introduction into a 3D landscape evolution model (CIDRE) of dissolving discrete spherical clasts that move downslope. In CIDRE, local erosion and deposition depend on slope and water discharge which adapt dynamically during the topographical evolution. On a cell, bedrock is converted to soil at a rate depending on soil thickness. Clasts are initially spread at specified depths. They have a specified initial size and mineralogical composition. Once they enter the soil, they begins to dissolve at a rate depending on their minerals, temperature and exposed area, which decreases the clast size. Clasts move downstream according to probabilities depending on the ratio between the calculated local deposition and erosion fluxes. Chemical outflux is calculated for each clast during its life. At pedon scale, the model predicts chemical depleted fractions close to that obtained with advection-diffusion models and in agreement with measurements. An integrated chemical flux is estimated for the whole landscape from the clast dissolution rates. This flux reaches a stable solution using a suitable number of initial clasts. This method seems promising to predict where and when silicate weathering (and associated CO2 consumption) is maximum through the mountain-foreland continuum.