The acid and alkalinity budgets of weathering in the Andes–Amazon system: Insights into the erosional control of global biogeochemical cycles | INSTITUT DE PHYSIQUE DU GLOBE DE PARIS

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  The acid and alkalinity budgets of weathering in the Andes–Amazon system: Insights into the erosional control of global biogeochemical cycles

Type de publication:

Journal Article

Source:

Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 350 (2016)

URL:

http://authors.library.caltech.edu/70693/2/mmc1.pdf

Résumé:

<p id="sp0080">The correlation between chemical weathering fluxes and denudation rates suggests that tectonic activity can force variations in atmospheric pCO2 by modulating weathering fluxes. However, the effect of weathering on pCO2 is not solely determined by the total mass flux. Instead, the effect of weathering on pCO2 also depends upon the balance between 1) alkalinity generation by carbonate and silicate mineral dissolution and 2) sulfuric acid generation by the oxidation of sulfide minerals. In this study, we explore how the balance between acid and alkalinity generation varies with tectonic uplift to better understand the links between tectonics and the long-term carbon cycle.</p><p id="sp0090">To trace weathering reactions across the transition from the Peruvian Andes to the Amazonian foreland basin, we measured a suite of elemental concentrations (Na, K, Ca, Mg, Sr, Si, Li, SO4, and Cl) and isotopic ratios (87Sr/86Sr and δ34S<math altimg="si1.gif" overflow="scroll"><msup><mrow><mi></mi></mrow><mrow><mn></mn></mrow></msup><mtext></mtext></math>) on both dissolved and solid phase samples. Using an inverse model, we quantitatively link systematic changes in solute geochemistry with elevation to downstream declines in sulfuric acid weathering as well as the proportion of cations sourced from silicates. With a new carbonate-system framework, we show that weathering in the Andes Mountains is a CO2 source whereas foreland weathering is a CO2 sink. These results are consistent with the theoretical expectation that the ratio of sulfide oxidation to silicate weathering increases with increasing erosion. Altogether, our results suggest that the effect of tectonically-enhanced weathering on atmospheric pCO2 is strongly modulated by sulfide mineral oxidation.</p>