The interplay between particulate and dissolved neodymium in the Western North Atlantic: First insights and interpretations

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Torben Stichel1, Sven Kretschmer2, Myriam Lambelet1, Tina van de Flierdt3, Michael Rutgers van der Loeff2, Micha J.A. Rijkenberg4, Loes J Gerringa4 and Hein J W De Baar4, (1)Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom, (2)Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz-Center for Polar and Marine Research Bremerhaven, Bremerhaven, Germany, (3)Imperial College London, London, SW7, United Kingdom, (4)Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Den Burg, Netherlands
Dissolved neodymium (Nd) isotopes (expressed as εNd) have been widely used as a water mass tracer to reconstruct paleo ocean circulation. However, the marine geochemical cycle of Nd is not well understood. Unclear input mechanisms, scarcity of available data, and observed decoupling between dissolved εNd and Nd concentration patterns ([Nd]) are only a few of the unresolved issues. The latter is often referred to as the Nd paradox(e.g. Goldstein and Hemming 2003).

Here we revisit this paradox with an unprecedented data set on particulate Nd isotope and concentration data from five stations along the Dutch GEOTRACES transect GA02 in the western North and equatorial Atlantic Ocean (cruises 64PE319 and 64PE321 from April to July 2010). Particulates were collected with in-situ pumps on 0.8 µm Supor filters and subjected to a total digestion procedure in the home laboratory.

The particulates collected farthest north (Irminger Sea and Labrador Sea) show a strong affinity to the nearby land masses in their Nd isotope composition: Very negative values (εNd ≈-20) are observed in the Labrador Sea, which is surrounded by old continental rocks. More positive values of up to εNd ≈-4 are found east of Greenland probably derived from the Nansen Fjord Formation’s basaltic rocks. In these two areas the particulate εNd is offset from dissolved Nd isotopes by up to 7.7 ε-units, but reveals a similar vertical distribution. Further downstream of the flow path of the North Atlantic Deep Water, dissolved and particulate Nd isotopic compositions in the water column seem to merge and become indistinguishable from one another south of Bermuda (BATS station). This seems to indicate that particulate and dissolved fractions exchange with increasing distance from source regions and age of water masses. Neodymium concentrations in particulates [pNd] are low (KD<5%) and invariant. However, most stations show a significant increase in [pNd] close to the seafloor, where [pNd] nearly matches [dNd].

Our new data set provides invaluable information towards addressing the Nd paradox as it constitutes the first regional data set on combined Nd concentrations and isotopes in particulate and dissolved samples.

References: Goldstein, S. L., and S. R. Hemming (2003), Treatise on Geochemistry, pp. 453–489, Elsevier Ltd.