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A microbial driver of chemical weathering in glaciated systems

Montross, Scott N., Skidmore, Mark, Tranter, Martyn, Kivimaki, Anna-Liisa and Parkes, Ronald John 2013. A microbial driver of chemical weathering in glaciated systems. Geology 41 (2) , pp. 215-218. 10.1130/G33572.1

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Glaciological processes under ice sheets provide sustainable ecosystems for microbes, forming an aquatic environment through basal melting, and providing nutrients and energy from bedrock. Microbes facilitate solute production in most Earth surface environments, but the balance of biotic and abiotic weathering in subglacial environment is presently unknown. This study demonstrates an up to eightfold increase in dissolved major cations in biotic relative to abiotic weathering experiments using glacial sediments and meltwater. This conclusion greatly expands our view of Earth's biogeochemically active weathering zone by incorporating the large wet-based portions of glaciated continents, both at present and during Earth's history. The profound environmental significance is that microbial processes have the ability to maintain terrestrial chemical weathering rates in cooling climates during glacial advance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Publisher: Geological Society of America
ISSN: 0091-7613
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:39

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