Testing the extraction of past seawater Nd isotopic composition from North Atlantic deep sea sediments and foraminifera

A. C. Elmore, A. M. Piotrowski, J. D. Wright, A. E. Scrivner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations


Neodymium isotopes provide a paleoceanographic proxy for past deep water circulation and local weathering changes and have been measured on various authigenic marine sediment components, including fish teeth, ferromanganese oxides extracted by acid-reductive leaching, cleaned foraminifera, and foraminifera with Fe-Mn oxide coatings. Here we compare Nd isotopic measurements obtained from ferromanganese oxides leached from bulk sediments and planktonic foraminifera, as well as from oxidatively-reductively cleaned foraminiferal shells from sediment cores in the North Atlantic. Sedimentary volcanic ash contributes a significant fraction of the Nd when the ferro-manganese (Fe-Mn) oxide coatings are leached from bulk sediments. Reductive leachates of marine sediments from North Atlantic core tops near Iceland, or directly downstream from Iceland-Scotland Overflow Waters, record ε\varepsilon εNd values that are significantly higher than seawater, indicating that volcanic material is easily leached by acid-reductive methods. The ε\varepsilon εNd values from sites more distal to Iceland are similar to modern seawater values, showing little contamination from Iceland-derived volcanogenic material. In all comparisons, core top planktonic foraminifera ε\varepsilonεNd values more closely approximate modern deep seawater than the bulk sediment reductive leached value suggesting that the foraminifera provide a route toward quantifying the Nd isotopic signature of deep North Atlantic water masses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberQ09008
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


  • neodymium
  • paleoceanography
  • water mass tracer

Cite this