Barium cycling in the North Pacific: Implications for the utility of Ba as a paleoproductivity and paleoalkalinity proxy Public Deposited

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  • Benthic incubation chambers have been deployed in a variety of geochemical environments that provide a comprehensive geochemical framework from which to address issues related to Ba geochemistry and the use of Ba as a paleoproxy. First order budgets for barium show that in the equatorial Pacific, present rates of Ba rain and benthic remobilization are nearly in balance, indicating that the rate of net accumulation is negligible and is clearly much less than the average for the Holocene; thus any paleoproxy algorithms built on the assumption of steady state are questionable. In contrast, budgets for sediments in the southern California Borderland indicate much higher burial efficiencies, in the range of 50–80%. The Ba:alkalinity (Alk) flux ratio is found to be remarkably constant throughout the environments studied and is indistinguishable from the deep water ratio used for paleoceanographic reconstructions. However, the Ba:organic carbon remobilization ratio is not constant. Combined, these results do not indicate a simple, first‐order direct link between Ba and alkalinity remobilization via organic carbon oxidation; however, the similarities in the Ba and alkalinity source functions conspire to maintain the Ba:Alk ratio near the global water column average. This latter observation provides promise for the use of the Ba:Ca ratio in benthic foraminifera as a paleocirculation tracer.
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  • McManus, J., W. M. Berelson, D. E. Hammond, and G. P. Klinkhammer (1999), Barium Cycling in the North Pacific: Implications for the Utility of Ba as a Paleoproductivity and Paleoalkalinity Proxy, Paleoceanography, 14(1), 53-61. doi: 10.1029/1998PA900007
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