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River dissolved and solid loads in the Lesser Antilles: New insight into basalt weathering processes

Abstract : We present here the first available estimations of chemical weathering and associated atmospheric CO2 consumption rates as well as mechanical erosion rate for the Lesser Antilles. The chemical weathering (100-120 t/km2/year) and CO2 consumption (1.1- 1.4 106 mol/km2/year) rates are calculated after subtraction of the atmospheric and hydrothermal inputs in the chemical composition of the river dissolved loads. These rates thus reflect only the low-temperature basalt weathering. Mechanical erosion rates (approx. 800-4000 t/km2/year) are estimated by a geochemical mass balance between the dissolved and solid loads and mean unaltered rock. The calculated chemical weathering rates and associated atmospheric CO2 consumption rates are among the highest values worldwide but are still lower than those of other tropical volcanic islands and do not fit with the HCO3 concentration vs. 1/ T correlation proposed by Dessert et al. (2001). The thick soils and explosive volcanism context of the Lesser Antilles are the two possible keys to this different weathering behaviour; the development of thick soils limits the chemical weathering and the presence of very porous pyroclastic flows allows an important water infiltration and thus subsurface weathering mechanisms, which are less effective for atmospheric CO2 consumption
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Soumis le : mercredi 21 novembre 2012 - 17:01:46
Dernière modification le : jeudi 1 juillet 2021 - 03:07:53



Sétareh Rad, Pascale Louvat, Caroline Gorge, Jérôme Gaillardet, Claude Allegre. River dissolved and solid loads in the Lesser Antilles: New insight into basalt weathering processes. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, Elsevier, 2006, 88 (1-3), pp.308-312. ⟨10.1016/j.gexplo.2005.08.063⟩. ⟨hal-00755694⟩



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