Li and Si isotopes reveal authigenic clay formation in a palaeo-delta - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Earth and Planetary Science Letters Year : 2022

Li and Si isotopes reveal authigenic clay formation in a palaeo-delta


Marine authigenic clay formation has long been postulated as a major process to explain the mass budgets of some elements in seawater, and might act a reverse reaction for the neutralization of atmospheric acidity by soil forming reactions on land. Nevertheless, to date, a handful of studies have directly investigated the effect of reverse weathering due to the challenges associated with sampling complexity. Deltas are thought to be one of the possible environments where reverse weathering reactions may occur because of the abundant influx of weathering derived materials and dynamic activities. In this study, we use a unique combination of three isotope systems (Si, Li, and Nd) as evidence of authigenic clay formation using sediments collected from a ∼40 Ma-old delta complex (Ainsa Basin, Spain). Sediments were collected along the land to sea depositional continuum, from alluvial and coastal plains to marine environments. Direct comparison between alluvial, coastal, and marine sediments allows for observing the potential effect of reverse weathering. Systematic differences in Si and Li isotope composition exist between marine and continental sediments, revealing the formation of an authigenic phase sequestrating light Li and Si as associated with the diagenesis of Fe in reducing deltaic environments. Finally, this study proposes a geochemical tool for helping distinguishing marine and continental origins of sedimentary rocks when lithofacies and biofacies prove to be ineffective.

Dates and versions

insu-03748543 , version 1 (09-08-2022)



Xu (Yvon) Zhang, Jérôme Gaillardet, Laurie Barrier, Julien Bouchez. Li and Si isotopes reveal authigenic clay formation in a palaeo-delta. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2022, 578, ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2021.117339⟩. ⟨insu-03748543⟩
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