A CLUMPED ISOTOPE CALIBRATION FOR TERRESTRIAL MICROBIAL CARBONATES
Friday, 19 December 2014
Accurate terrestrial paleotemperature records are key pieces of information in the paleoenvironmental reconstruction of Earth history. These records aid in building reliable climate models and help scientists understand the links between continental and oceanic climate data. Many different types of analyses are used to estimate terrestrial climate shifts, including leaf margin analysis, palynology, glacial deposits, elemental ratios, organic geochemistry, and stable isotopes of lacustrine deposits. Here we report a carbonate clumped isotope calibration for microbial carbonates. Application of the clumped isotope paleothermometer can potentially provide a direct temperature measurement of the water at the time of carbonate formation. Although different calibrations of the paleothermometer have been published for both inorganic and biotic carbonate minerals, the effects of clumping in microbialites (structures built under the influence of microbial activity) have not yet been quantified. Lacustrine microbialites present a potentially large, untapped archive of terrestrial climate data, however they are not strictly biotic or abiotic, but bio-induced carbonate, meaning that organisms (such as photosynthetic bacteria) influence but do not directly control precipitation. We have measured modern microbialites from multiple lacustrine sites and will report a comparison of these results to known water temperatures. Additionally we will compare lacustrine samples to marine microbialites (e.g., samples from Shark Bay) to assess potential differences between lacustrine and marine intertidal environments on clumped isotope compositions.