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Ironing out details of the carbon cycle
Date:7/3/2014

onent of the carbon cycle.

"It could help us understand past climate change, like glacial-interglacial cycles," says John. "There would have been huge changes in dust fluxes to the ocean in glacial times, and so understanding how much iron comes from dust in the modern day helps us figure out whether that was an important driver of glacial-interglacial cycles."

The breakdown of the sources might surprise many, according to John and Conway.

"I think that a lot of people thought that there would be a lot of dust in the north Atlantic, and so while it's very satisfying to have proved that, it's perhaps more surprising that there's 20 percent that comes from other sources," says John. "I think before we published this paper, you would have found many, many people who would have guessed that that was zero percent or very close to zero percent."

"That's one interesting thing that the iron isotopes really show on the east margin," says Conway. "Off the coast of Africa you have really high iron, and in the past most people attributed that just to dust. We can show from the iron isotopes that there's actually iron coming from sediments.

"People have always argued whether it was dust or sediments. This is one of the first studies to really show clearly that sediments are important as well."


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Contact: Steven Powell
spowell2@mailbox.sc.edu
803-777-1923
University of South Carolina
Source:Eurekalert

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