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Journal Articles Nature Communications Year : 2022

Hydrological control of river and seawater lithium isotopes


Abstract Seawater lithium isotopes (δ 7 Li) record changes over Earth history, including a ∼9‰ increase during the Cenozoic interpreted as reflecting either a change in continental silicate weathering rate or weathering feedback strength, associated with tectonic uplift. However, mechanisms controlling the dissolved δ 7 Li remain debated. Here we report time-series δ 7 Li measurements from Tibetan and Pamir rivers, and combine them with published seasonal data, covering small (<10 2 km 2 ) to large rivers (>10 6 km 2 ). We find seasonal changes in δ 7 Li across all latitudes: dry seasons consistently have higher δ 7 Li than wet seasons, by −0.3‰ to 16.4‰ (mean 5.0 ± 2.5‰). A globally negative correlation between δ 7 Li and annual runoff reflects the hydrological intensity operating in catchments, regulating water residence time and δ 7 Li values. This hydrological control on δ 7 Li is consistent across climate events back to ~445 Ma. We propose that hydrological changes result in shifts in river δ 7 Li and urge reconsideration of its use to examine past weathering intensity and flux, opening a new window to reconstruct hydrological conditions.
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hal-03707076 , version 1 (22-11-2023)



Fei Zhang, Mathieu Dellinger, Robert Hilton, Jimin Yu, Mark Allen, et al.. Hydrological control of river and seawater lithium isotopes. Nature Communications, 2022, 13 (1), pp.3359. ⟨10.1038/s41467-022-31076-y⟩. ⟨hal-03707076⟩
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