Quantitative Estimation of Chemical Weathering versus Total Denudation Ratio within Tributaries of Yangtze River Basin Based on Size Dependent Chemical Composition Ratio of River Sediment

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Yui Kuboki1, Luo Chao2, Ryuji Tada1, Keita Saito3, Hongbo Zheng4, Tomohisa Irino5, Mengying He4, Wang Ke6 and Yoshiaki Suzuki1, (1)University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Japan, (2)Nanjing University, School of Earth Science and Engineering, Nanjing, China, (3)University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, (4)Nanjing Normal University, College of Geographic Science, Nanjing, China, (5)Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, (6)Hokkaido University, Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Sapporo, Japan
Quantitative estimation of chemical weathering rate and evaluation of its controlling factors are critical to understand its role on landscape evolution and carbon cycle on a long time scale. In order to reconstruct the past changes in intensities of chemical weathering and erosion, it is necessary to establish a proxy for chemical versus physical weathering intensities based on chemical composition of sediments. However, the chemical composition of sediments is controlled not only by chemical weathering, but by type of source rock and grain size, too. This study aims to develop a method to quantitatively evaluate the contribution of chemical weathering relative to total denudation in the entire Yangtze River basin based on chemical composition of three different grain size fractions of river sediments. Chemical compositions of three different grain size fractions, and grain size distribution of suspended particles and river bed sediments as well as chemical composition of dissolved materials of water samples are analyzed. The result revealed that suspended particles and river bed sediments are composed of three components, aluminosilicate, quartz, and carbonate. K/Al is smaller in the smallest size fraction. We preliminary interpret that original composition of aluminosilcates within different size fractions of the same sample is the same, and the decrease in K/Al with decreasing grain size would reflect increasing influence of chemical weathering. If correct, K/Al of fine to coarse fraction can be used as an index of chemical weathering intensity. To test this idea, we examined the relationship between K/Al of fine to coarse fraction and the ratio of chemical weathering contribution to total denudation rate based on observational data. The result will be presented and its implication will be discussed.