230 Th normalization: New insights on an essential tool for quantifying sedimentary fluxes in the modern and Quaternary ocean

walter.geibert [ at ] awi.de


230Th‐normalization is a valuable paleoceanographic tool for reconstructing high‐resolution sediment fluxes during the late Pleistocene (last ~500,000 years). As its application has expanded to ever more diverse marine environments, the nuances of 230Th systematics, with regards to particle type, particle size, lateral advective/diffusive redistribution, and other processes, have emerged. We synthesized over 1000 sedimentary records of 230Th from across the global ocean at two time slices, the Late Holocene (0‐5000 years ago, or 0‐5 ka) and the Last Glacial Maximum (18.5‐23.5 ka), and investigated the spatial structure of 230Th‐normalized mass fluxes. On a global scale, sedimentary mass fluxes were significantly higher during the Last Glacial Maximum (1.79‐2.17 g/cm2kyr, 95% confidence) relative to the Holocene (1.48‐1.68 g/cm2kyr, 95% confidence). We then examined the potential confounding influences of boundary scavenging, nepheloid layers, hydrothermal scavenging, size dependent sediment fractionation, and carbonate dissolution on the efficacy of 230Th as a constant flux proxy. Anomalous 230Th behavior is sometimes observed proximal to hydrothermal ridges and in continental margins where high particle fluxes and steep continental slopes can lead to the combined effects of boundary scavenging and nepheloid interference. Notwithstanding these limitations, we found that 230Th‐normalization is a robust tool for determining sediment mass accumulation rates in the majority of pelagic marine settings (> 1000 m water depth).

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.1029/2019PA003820

Cite as
Costa, K. M. , Hayes, C. M. , Anderson, R. F. , Pavia, F. J. , Bausch, A. , Deng, F. , Dutay, J. , Geibert, W. , Heinze, C. , Henderson, G. , Hillaire‐Marcel, C. , Hoffmann, S. , Jaccard, S. L. , Jacobel, A. W. , Kienast, S. S. , Kipp, L. , Lerner, P. , Lippold, J. , Lund, D. , Marcantonio, F. , McGee, D. , McManus, J. F. , Mekik, F. , Middleton, J. L. , Missiaen, L. , Not, C. , Pichat, S. , Robinson, L. F. , Rowland, G. H. , Roy‐Barman, M. , Tagliabue, A. , Torfstein, A. , Winckler, G. and Zhou, Y. (2020): 230 Th normalization: New insights on an essential tool for quantifying sedimentary fluxes in the modern and Quaternary ocean , Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology . doi: 10.1029/2019PA003820

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Geographical region

Research Platforms


Edit Item Edit Item