Abstract

Variations of global and regional silicate weathering rates and paleo-ocean circulation patterns are estimated by using radiogenic isotope records, but the effects of changes in provenance are generally ignored. Here sediment provenance has been constrained through the use of Ar-Ar ages for individual detrital minerals from the Labrador Sea, which can be compared directly to the radiogenic isotope compositions from the same core material. Dramatic changes in the radiogenic isotope composition of North Atlantic Deep Water through the Quaternary Period are shown to reflect discrete changes in both sources and weathering processes accompanying Northern Hemisphere glaciation. Changes in the different radiogenic isotope systems reflect the influence of source, physical weathering, and chemical weathering, and not simply changes in the underlying weathering rate or ocean circulation patterns that are typically inferred.

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