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Bottoms up: Sedimentary control of the deep North Pacific Ocean’s ε[subscript Nd] signature Public Deposited

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  • The ability to reconstruct past ocean currents is essential for determining ocean circulation’s role in global heat transport and climate change. Our understanding of the relationship between circulation and climate in the past allows us to predict the impact of future climate-driven circulation changes. One proposed tracer of past ocean circulation is the neodymium isotope composition (ε[subscript Nd]) of ancient water masses. However, ambiguities in what governs the ε[subscript Nd] distribution in the modern ocean hamper interpretations of this tracer. Here we present ε[subscript Nd] values for marine pore fluids, sediments, and the overlying water column for three sites in the North Pacific. We find that ocean bottom water ε[subscript Nd] (ε[subscript Nd subscript BW]) in the Northeast Pacific lies between the value expected for the water mass (-3.3) and the measured ε[subscript Nd] of sediment pore fluid (ε[subscript Nd subscript PW]; - 1.8). Moreover, ε[subscript Nd subscript PW] resembles the ε[subscript Nd] of the sediment. Combined, these findings are consistent with recent assessments that sediment pore fluids may be a major source of rare earth elements to the ocean, and suggest that the benthic flux of neodymium from pore fluids exerts the primary control over the deep ocean distribution of ε[subscript Nd].
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  • Abbott, A. N., Haley, B. A., & McManus, J. (2015). Bottoms up: Sedimentary control of the deep North Pacific Ocean’s εNd signature. Geology, 43(11), 1035-1038. doi:10.1130/G37114.1
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  • 43
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  • 11
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  • Portions of this work were funded through National Science Foundation grant OCE-1147407 to McManus and Haley. The University of Akron also supported McManus’ contributions to this study.
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