Sulphuric acid-mediated weathering on Taiwan buffers geological atmospheric carbon sinks
Blattmann, Thomas M.
Eglinton, Timothy I.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
The chemical composition of the Gaoping River in Taiwan reflects the weathering of both silicate and carbonate rocks found in its metasedimentary catchment. Major dissolved ion chemistry and radiocarbon signatures of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) reveal the importance of pyrite-derived sulphuric acid weathering on silicates and carbonates. Two-thirds of the dissolved load of the Gaoping River derives from sulphuric acid-mediated weathering of rocks within its catchment. This is reflected in the lowest reported signatures DI14C for a small mountainous river (43 to 71 percent modern carbon), with rock-derived carbonate constituting a 14C-free DIC source. Using an inverse modelling approach integrating riverine major dissolved ion chemistry and DI14C, we provide quantitative constraints of mineral weathering pathways and calculate atmospheric CO2 fluxes resulting from the erosion of the Taiwan orogeny over geological timescales. The results reveal that weathering on Taiwan releases 0.31 ± 0.12 MtC/yr, which is offset by burial of terrestrial biospheric organic carbon in offshore sediments. The latter tips the balance with respect to the total CO2 budget of Taiwan such that the overall system acts as a net sink, with 0.24 ± 0.13 MtC/yr of atmospheric CO2 consumed over geological timescales. Show more
Journal / seriesScientific Reports
Pages / Article No.
PublisherNature Publishing Group
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