Magnesium retention on the soil exchange complex controlling Mg isotope variations in soils, soil solutions and vegetation in volcanic soils, Iceland.

Opfergelt, S., Burton, K. W., Georg, R. B., West, A. J., Guicharnaud, R., Sigfusson, B., Siebert, Christopher, Gislason, S. R. and Halliday, A. N. (2014) Magnesium retention on the soil exchange complex controlling Mg isotope variations in soils, soil solutions and vegetation in volcanic soils, Iceland. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 125 . pp. 110-130. DOI 10.1016/j.gca.2013.09.036.

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Abstract

Understanding the biogeochemical cycle of magnesium (Mg) is not only crucial for terrestrial ecology, as this element is a key nutrient for plants, but also for quantifying chemical weathering fluxes of Mg and associated atmospheric CO2 consumption, requiring distinction of biotic from abiotic contributions to Mg fluxes exported to the hydrosphere. Here, Mg isotope compositions are reported for parent basalt, bulk soils, clay fractions, exchangeable Mg, seasonal soil solutions, and vegetation for five types of volcanic soils in Iceland in order to improve the understanding of sources and processes controlling Mg supply to vegetation and export to the hydrosphere. Bulk soils (δ26Mg = -0.40±0.11‰) are isotopically similar to the parent basalt (δ26Mg = -0.31‰), whereas clay fractions (δ26Mg = -0.62±0.12‰), exchangeable Mg (δ26Mg = -0.75 ± 0.14 ‰), and soil solutions (δ26Mg = -0.89 ± 0.16 ‰) are all isotopically lighter than the basalt. These compositions can be explained by a combination of mixing and isotope fractionation processes on the soil exchange complex. Successive adsorption-desorption of heavy Mg isotopes leads to the preferential loss of heavy Mg from the soil profile, leaving soils with light Mg isotope compositions relative to the parent basalt. Additionally, external contributions from sea spray and organic matter decomposition result in a mixture of Mg sources on the soil exchange complex. Vegetation preferentially takes up heavy Mg from the soil exchange complex (Δ26Mgplant-exch = +0.50±0.09‰), and changes in δ26Mg in vegetation reflect changes in bioavailable Mg sources in soils. This study highlights the major role of Mg retention on the soil exchange complex amongst the factors controlling Mg isotope variations in soils and soil solutions, and demonstrates that Mg isotopes provide a valuable tool for monitoring biotic and abiotic contributions of Mg that is bioavailable for plants and is exported to the hydrosphere.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Magnesium isotopes, Basalt weathering, Volcanic soil, Cation exchange, Adsorption-desorption, Iceland
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.gca.2013.09.036
ISSN: 0016-7037
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2013 10:10
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2015 13:14
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/22350

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