Development and Applications of Thallium isotopes: a new proxy tracking the extent of manganese oxide burial
Abstract:Thallium (Tl) isotopes are a new and potential powerful paleoredox proxy with the possibility to track bottom water oxygen conditions based on the burial flux of manganese oxides. Thallium has a residence time of ~20 thousand years, which is long enough to render modern oxic seawater conservative with respect to concentration and isotopes. The isotopic signature of Tl in the global ocean is driven mainly by two outputs (1) adsorption onto manganese oxides and (2) low temperature oceanic crust alteration. Importantly, the isotopic inputs of Tl are all nearly the same value; thus, the isotopic composition and flux of the outputs almost exclusively set the seawater signature. For relatively short term redox events it is reasonable to assume that the dominant isotope fractionation process is associated with manganese oxide precipitation because low temperature alteration is controlled by long-term average ocean crust production rates.
We present a broad range of modern samples that span several open ocean profiles combined with water column and sediment profiles from the permanently anoxic basins of the Black Sea and Cariaco Basins. The open ocean shows no variation in depth profiles that encompass most of the major water masses in the Atlantic and Southern Oceans. The anoxic basins, however, reveal Tl isotope signatures closer to their inputs, which is likely due to basinal restriction. The authigenic fraction of organic-rich sediments from the Black Sea and Cariaco Basin capture the Tl isotope value of the overlying water column, which shows that Tl isotopes could be applied as a faithful deep time redox proxy. For the first time, we will present new data showing that Tl isotopes is tracking bottom water ocean oxygenation. We are applying this isotope system to ancient samples, testing the spatial and temporal variability of ocean oxygenation coinciding with major biogeochemical events.