Unmixing of stable isotope signals using single specimen δ18O analyses

J.C. Wit, G.-J. Reichart, G.M. Ganssen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The resolution at which foraminiferal stable isotopes are applied in paleo-environmental studies is ever increasing, resulting in continuous sampling of sediment cores. The resolution of such continuously sampled records depends on the rate of sedimentation of foraminiferal shells in its relation to the intensity of bioturbation. Bioturbation essentially mixes sediment layers of different age, altering the primary climate signal, thereby impacting the accuracy of both the timing and magnitude of reconstructed climate changes. A new approach to assess and correct the impact of bioturbation is investigated here, based on the δ18O of individual specimens of planktonic foraminifera Globorotalia inflata from a series of boxcore samples in the Eastern North Atlantic. Average δ18O values decrease southward from 1.62 to 1.07‰ with the exception of site T86-11 (1.35‰). The δ18O distribution of each station can be fitted with a uni- to polymodal distribution. A nonunimodal distribution strongly suggests admixing of bioturbated individuals. Quantification of these distributions allows deconvolving the original and bioturbated signals and subsequently provides a correction for bioturbation. © 2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1312-1320
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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