Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Isotopic Approach to Soil Carbonate Dynamics and Implications for Paleoclimatic Interpretations

  • Elise G. Pendall (a1), Jennifer W. Harden (a1), Sue E. Trumbore (a2) and Oliver A. Chadwick (a3)
Abstract
Abstract

The radiocarbon content and stable isotope composition of soil carbonate are best described by a dynamic system in which isotopic reequilibration occurs as a result of recurrent dissolution and reprecipitation. Depth of water penetration into the soil profile, as well as soil age, determines the degree of carbonate isotope reequilibration. We measured δ13C, δ18O and radiocarbon content of gravel rinds and fine (<2 mm) carbonate in soils of 3 .different ages (1000, 3800, and 6300 14 C yr B.P.) to assess the degree to which they record and preserve a climatic signal. In soils developing in deposits independently dated at 3800 and 6300 radiocarbon yr B.P., carbonate radiocarbon content above 40 cm depth suggests continual dissolution and reprecipitation, presumably due to frequent wetting events. Between 40 and 90 cm depth, fine carbonate is dissolved and precipitated as rinds that are not redissolved subsequently. Below 90 cm depth in these soils, radiocarbon content indicates that inherited, fine carbonate undergoes little dissolution and reprecipitation. In the 3800- and 6300-yr-old soils, δ13C in rind and fine carbonate follows a decreasing trend with depth, apparently in equilibrium with modern soil gas, as predicted by a diffusive model for soil CO2. δ18O also decreases with depth due to greater evaporative enrichment above 50 cm depth. In contrast, carbonate isotopes in a 1000-yr-old deposit do not reflect modern conditions even in surficial horizons; this soil has not undergone significant pedogenesis. There appears to be a lag of at least 1000 but less than 3800 yr before carbonate inherited with parent material is modified by ambient climatic conditions. Although small amounts of carbonate are inherited with the parent material, the rate of pedogenic carbonate accumulation indicates that Ca is derived primarily from eolian and rainfall sources. A model describing carbonate input and radiocarbon decay suggests that fine carbonate below 90 cm is mostly detrital (inherited) and that carbonate rinds have been forming pedogenically at a constant rate since alluvial fans were deposited.

Copyright
Corresponding author
1 To whom correspondence should be addressed at the Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721.
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. G. Amundson O. A. Chadwick J. M. Sowers , and H. E. Doner (1989). The stable isotope chemistry of pedogenic carbonates at Kyle Canyon, Nevada. Soil Science Society of America Journal S3, 201210.

R. J. Arkley (1963). Calculation of carbonate and water movement in soil from climatic data. Soil Science 96, 239248.

R. A. Callen R. J. Wasson , and R. Gillespie (1983). Reliability of radiocarbon dating of pedogenic carbonate in the Australian arid zone. Sedimentary Geology 35, 114.

T. E. Cerling (1984). The stable isotopic composition of modem soil carbonate and its relationship to climate. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 71, 229240.

T. E. Cerling (1991). Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: Evidence from Cenozoic and Mesozoic paleosols. American Journal of Science 291, 377400.

T. E. Cerling J. R. Bowman , and O’ J. R. Neil (1988). An isotopic study of a fluvial-lacustrine sequence: The Plio-Pleistocene Koobi Fora sequence, East Africa. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 63, 335356.

T. E. Cerling J. Quade Y. R. Wang , and J. R. Bowman (1989). Carbon isotopes in soils and palaeosols as ecology and palaeoecology indicators. Nature 341, 138139.

O. A. Chadwick , and J. O. Davis (1990). Soil-forming intervals caused by eolian sediment pulses in the Lahontan basin, northwestern Nevada. Geology 18, 243246.

O. A. Chadwick D. M. Hendricks , and W. D. Nettleton (1987). Silica in duric soils. I. A depositional model. Soil Science Society of America Journal 51, 975981.

H. Craig (1957). Isotopic standards for carbon and oxygen and correction factors for mass spectrometric analysis of carbon dioxide. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 12, 133149.

H. Craig (1961). Standard for reporting concentrations of deuterium and oxygen-18 in natural waters. Science 133, 1833.

P. E. Damon A. Long , and J. J. Sigalove (1963). Arizona radiocarbon dates, IV. Radiocarbon 5, 283301.

L. H. Gile F. F. Peterson , and R. B. Grossman (1966). Morphological and genetic sequences of carbonate accumulation in desert soils. Soil Science 101, 347360.

J. W. Harden W. E. Taylor C. Hill R. K. Mark L. D. McFadden M. C. Reheis J. M. Sowers , and S. G. Wells (1991). Rates of soil development from four soil chronosequences in the southern Great Basin. Quaternary Research 35, 353399.

H. Jenny (1941), “Factors of Soil Formation.” McGraw-Hill, New York.

M. N. Machette (1985). Calcic soils of the southwestern United States. In “Soils and Quaternary Geomorphology of the Southwestern United States” ( D. L. Weide , Ed.), pp. 122. Geological Society of America Special Paper 203.

G. M. Marion W. H. Schlesinger , and P. J. Fonteyn (1985). Caldep: A regional model for soil CaC03 (Caliche) deposition in southwestern deserts. Soil Science 139, 468479.

L. Mayer L. D. McFadden , and J. W. Harden (1988). The distribution of calcium carbonate in desert soils: A model. Geology 16, 303306.

L. D. McFadden , and J. C. Tinsley (1985). Rate and depth of pedogenic-carbonate accumulation in soils: Formulation and testing of a compartment model. In “Soils and Quaternary Geomorphology of the Southwestern United States” ( D. L. Weide , Ed.), pp. 2341. Geological Society of America Special Paper 203.

E. Pendall , and R. Amundson (1990). The stable isotope chemistry of pedogenic carbonate in an alluvial soil from the Punjab, Pakistan. Soil Science 149, 199211.

J. Quade T. E. Cerling , and J. R. Bowman (1989a). Development of Asian monsoon revealed by marked ecological shift during the latest Miocene in northern Pakistan. Nature 342, 163166.

J. Quade T. E. Cerling , and J. R. Bowman (1989b). Systematic variations in the carbon and oxygen isotopic composition of pedogenic carbonate along elevation transects in the southern Great Basin, United States. Geological Society of America Bulletin 101, 464475.

W. Salomons , and W. G. Mook (1976). Isotope geochemistry of carbonate dissolution and reprecipitation in soils. Soil Science 122, 1524.

W. H. Schlesinger (1982). Carbon storage in the caliche of arid soils: A case study from Arizona. Soil Science 133, 247255.

W. H. Schlesinger (1985). The formation of caliche in soils of the Mojave Desert, California. Geochimica el Cosmochimica Acta 49, 5766.

W. H. Schlesinger G. M. Marion , and P. J. Fonteyn (1989). Stable isotope ratios and the dynamics of caliche in desert soils. In “Stable Isotopes in Ecological Research” ( P. W. Rundel J. R. Ehleringer , and K. A. Nagy , Eds.), pp. 309317. Springer-Verlag, New York.

P. S. Switzer J. W. Harden , and R. K. Mark (1988). A statistical method for estimating rates of soil development and ages of geologic deposits: A design for soil-chronosequence studies. Mathematical Geology 20, 4961.

Y. R. Wang , and S.-H. Zheng (1989). Paleosol nodules as Pleistocene paleoclimatic indicators, Louchuan P. R. China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 76, 3944.

G. E. Williams , and H. A. Polach (1971), Radiocarbon dating of aridzone calcareous paleosols. Geological Society of America Bulletin 82, 30693086.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 25 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 21st September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.