Ice-sheet driven weathering input and water mass mixing in the Nordic Seas during the last 25,000 years.

Struve, Torben, Roberts, Natalie L. , Frank, Martin , Piotrowski, Alexander M., Spielhagen, Robert F., Gutjahr, Marcus , Teschner, Claudia and Bauch, Henning A. (2019) Ice-sheet driven weathering input and water mass mixing in the Nordic Seas during the last 25,000 years. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 514 . pp. 108-118. DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.02.030.

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Supplementary data:



• First deep water Nd and Pb isotope records from the glacial–deglacial Nordic Seas.
• Deglacial changed by up to six units from unradiogenic LGM background.
• Glacial–deglacial Nd and Pb isotope changes controlled by local weathering input.
• Pb isotopes suggest synchronous postglacial weathering fluxes around the North Atlantic.
• Holocene Nd isotope evolution dominated by re-invigorated water mass mixing.


Neodymium (Nd) isotopes are a powerful proxy tool for reconstructing past changes in water mass mixing, but reliable application of this proxy requires constraints on past changes of source water compositions. A key region of the global deep water circulation system are the Nordic Seas, which provide dense waters fundamental for the formation of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW). Yet, the Nd isotope evolution of past deep waters in the Nordic Seas is so far poorly constrained. Here we present the first reconstructions of seawater Nd isotope compositions extracted from marine sediments at two locations in the central and northern Nordic Seas covering the period from the last glacial to the present. Further insights into past changes in sediment provenance, weathering inputs and water mass mixing are provided by complementary seawater and detrital strontium (Sr) and lead (Pb) isotope compositions.

Our new data reveal that changes in source and magnitude of weathering inputs from the Scandinavian and Svalbard–Barents Ice Sheets (SIS and SBIS, respectively) controlled the Nd and Pb isotope composition of the Nordic Seas' deep waters during the last glacial period. During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), deep waters showed distinctly unradiogenic Nd and radiogenic Pb isotope signatures most likely driven by weathering inputs of the SBIS. In contrast, the deglaciation was characterized by enhanced SBIS ice dynamics and/or meltwater release delivering sediments from the distal Eurasian shelves to the Norwegian Sea. Pulses of volcanogenic sediment supply changed the deep water Nd isotope composition during Heinrich Stadials 1, 2 and the Bølling period. As such, the glacial–deglacial Nd and Pb isotope evolution was markedly different in the Nordic Seas, the North Atlantic and the Arctic Oceans, respectively. During the Holocene, Pb isotopes indicate synchronized weathering fluxes around the North Atlantic, whereas the influence of local weathering input on the Nd isotope evolution of the deep Nordic Seas ceased. Instead, the Holocene Nd isotope signal has been driven by the strength of the advection/convection of water masses in the study area. These new constraints on changes in the Nordic Seas provide important endmember information for Nd isotope based reconstructions of NADW export downstream in the Atlantic Ocean.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Nordic Seas, ice sheets, weathering, provenance, radiogenic isotopes, deglaciation
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2019 08:02
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2022 09:15

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