A Clumped Isotope Calibration for Lacustrine Carbonates
Friday, 19 December 2014
Our capacity to understand Earth’s environmental history is highly dependent on the accuracy of past climate reconstructions. Unfortunately, many terrestrial proxies—tree rings, speleothems, leaf margin analyses, etc.—are influenced by the effects of both temperature and precipitation. Methods that can isolate the effects of temperature alone are needed, and clumped isotope thermometry has the potential to be a useful tool for determining terrestrial climates. Multiple studies have shown that the fraction of 13C—18O bonds in carbonates is inversely related to the temperature at which the rocks formed and may be a useful proxy for reconstructing temperatures on land. An in-depth survey of lacustrine carbonates, however, has not yet been published. Therefore we have been measuring the abundance of 13C18O16O in the CO2 produced by the dissolution of modern lake samples’ carbonate minerals in phosphoric acid and comparing results to independently known estimates of lake water temperature and air temperature. Some of the sample types we have investigated include endogenic carbonates, freshwater gastropods, bivalves, microbialites, and ooids.