A Cenozoic record of seawater uranium in fossil corals

Anne M. Gothmann, John Andrew Higgins, Jess F. Adkins, Wally Broecker, Kenneth A. Farley, Ryan McKeon, Jarosław Stolarski, Noah Planavsky, Xiangli Wang, Michael L. Bender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We measured U/Ca ratios, 4 He concentrations, 234 U/ 238 U, and 238 U/ 235 U in a subset of well-preserved aragonitic scleractinian fossil corals previously described by Gothmann et al. (2015). Comparisons of measured fossil coral He/U ages with the stratigraphic age demonstrate that well-preserved coral aragonite retains most or all of its radiogenic He for 10’s of millions of years. Such samples must be largely or entirely free of alteration, including neomorphism. Measurements of 234 U/ 238 U and 238 U/ 235 U further help to characterize the fidelity with which the original U concentration has been preserved. Analyses of fossil coral U/Ca show that the seawater U/Ca ratio rose by a factor of 4–5 between the Early Cenozoic and today. Possible explanations for the observed increase include (1) the stabilization of U in seawater due to an increase in seawater [CO 3 2− ], and a resulting increase in UO 2 -CO 3 complexation as originally suggested by Broecker (1971); (2) a decrease in the rate of low-temperature hydrothermal alteration from Early Cenozoic to present, leading to a diminished U sink and higher seawater [U]; or (3) a decrease in uranium removal in reducing sediments, again leading to higher seawater [U].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-190
Number of pages18
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Volume250
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

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Uranium
Seawater
uranium
coral
fossil
seawater
Carbon Monoxide
Calcium Carbonate
aragonite
hydrothermal alteration
Complexation
complexation
Sediments
stabilization
Stabilization
sediment
Temperature

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Gothmann, A. M., Higgins, J. A., Adkins, J. F., Broecker, W., Farley, K. A., McKeon, R., ... Bender, M. L. (2019). A Cenozoic record of seawater uranium in fossil corals. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 250, 173-190. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2019.01.039
Gothmann, Anne M. ; Higgins, John Andrew ; Adkins, Jess F. ; Broecker, Wally ; Farley, Kenneth A. ; McKeon, Ryan ; Stolarski, Jarosław ; Planavsky, Noah ; Wang, Xiangli ; Bender, Michael L. / A Cenozoic record of seawater uranium in fossil corals. In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 2019 ; Vol. 250. pp. 173-190.
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Gothmann, AM, Higgins, JA, Adkins, JF, Broecker, W, Farley, KA, McKeon, R, Stolarski, J, Planavsky, N, Wang, X & Bender, ML 2019, 'A Cenozoic record of seawater uranium in fossil corals' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol. 250, pp. 173-190. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2019.01.039

A Cenozoic record of seawater uranium in fossil corals. / Gothmann, Anne M.; Higgins, John Andrew; Adkins, Jess F.; Broecker, Wally; Farley, Kenneth A.; McKeon, Ryan; Stolarski, Jarosław; Planavsky, Noah; Wang, Xiangli; Bender, Michael L.

In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 250, 01.04.2019, p. 173-190.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - McKeon, Ryan

AU - Stolarski, Jarosław

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AU - Wang, Xiangli

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