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A new Alpine geo-lithological map (Alpine-Geo-LiM) and global carbon cycle implications

Marco Donnini, Ivan Marchesini and Azzurra Zucchini
A new Alpine geo-lithological map (Alpine-Geo-LiM) and global carbon cycle implications
Geological Society of America Bulletin (February 2020) Pre-Issue Publication


The chemical composition of river waters gives a measure of the atmospheric CO2 fixed by chemical weathering processes. Since the dominating factors controlling these processes are lithology and runoff, as well as uplift and erosion, we introduce a new simplified geo-lithological map of the Alps (Alpine-Geo-LiM) that adopted a lithological classification compliant with the methods most used in literature for estimating the consumption of atmospheric CO2 by chemical weathering. The map was used together with published alkalinity data of the 33 main Alpine rivers (1) to investigate the relationship between bicarbonate concentration in the sampled waters and the lithologies of the corresponding drained basins, and (2) to quantify the atmospheric CO2 consumed by chemical weathering. The analyses confirm (as known by the literature) that carbonates are lithologies highly prone to consuming atmospheric CO2. Moreover, the analyses show that sandstone (which could have a nonnegligible carbonate component) plays an important role in consuming atmospheric CO2. Another result is that in multilithological basins containing lithologies more prone to consuming atmospheric CO2, the contribution of igneous rocks to the atmospheric CO2 consumption is negligible. Alpine-Geo-LiM has several novel features when compared with published global lithological maps. One novel feature is due to the attention paid in discriminating metamorphic rocks, which were classified according to the chemistry of protoliths. The second novel feature is that the procedure used for the definition of the map was made available on the Web to allow the replicability and reproducibility of the product.

ISSN: 0016-7606
EISSN: 1943-2674
Serial Title: Geological Society of America Bulletin
Serial Volume: Pre-Issue Publication
Title: A new Alpine geo-lithological map (Alpine-Geo-LiM) and global carbon cycle implications
Affiliation: CNR/Istituto di Ricerca per la Protezione Idrogeologica, Perugia, Italy
Published: 20200204
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 127
Accession Number: 2020-056442
Categories: General geochemistry
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2020085
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 8 tables, geol. sketch maps
Secondary Affiliation: Universita degli Studi di Perugia, ITA, Italy
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2020, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 202016
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