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January GEOLOGY media highlights
Date:1/8/2009

rculation Models predict west-to-east flow at deeper levels, and Newkirk and Martin's Nd isotopic data present a unique method to corroborate this prediction. In particular, the Nd data indicate that the Caribbean was essentially filled with waters sourced with corrosive Pacific waters during intervals of low carbonate accumulation, referred to as the Caribbean Carbonate Crash. In addition, times of greater Pacific throughflow identified using Nd isotopes correlate to intervals of enhanced formation of deep water in the North Atlantic. This result contradicts most General Circulation Model results that predict North Atlantic waters were too fresh to sink when there was strong equatorial exchange through the Central American Seaway.


Evidence from Middle Ordovician paleosols for the predominance of alkaline groundwater at the dawn of land plant radiation

Pierre Jutras et al., Department of Geology, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 3C3, Canada. Pages 91-94.

Jutras et al. present evidence from ancient petrified soils for surface conditions of high alkalinity, close to that of household bleach, at the dawn of land plant development, 450 to 475 million years ago. They argue that the ultra-alkaline conditions at that time are the result of a gradual decrease in atmospheric carbon through geologic times. Atmospheric carbon normally combines with water to produce acid rain, and decreasing atmospheric concentrations therefore result in less acidic rains. However, the strong acids produced by land plants prevent most modern soils from developing the alkalinity that would otherwise naturally develop through groundwater-mineral interactions.


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Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
303-357-1093
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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