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Lithium isotope compositions of various biogenic carbonates throughout the mid-Cretaceous – Challenges of reconstructing δ7LiSW in deep time

The evolution of the seawater Lithium isotope composition (δ7LiSW) depends on the prevalent weathering regime. To reconstruct δ7LiSW, and thus, weathering congruency, two main archives are widely used: calcareous fossils and bulk carbonate sediments. Either of these archives has its strong and weak points. While carbonate sediments are prone to diagenesis and clay contamination, biogenic skeletons may exhibit strong vital effects on δ7LiSW. Here, we present δ7LiSW data for the mid-Cretaceous derived from various biogenic carbonates such as bivalves (mainly rudists), cephalopods, and brachiopods from well-known sample sites across Europe.

Additionally, we assessed the extent of taxon-specific vital effects on δ7Li for well-preserved Albian molluscs from Madagascar (Mahajanga Basin, age 110.5 +/-0.5Ma) and compared them with data for modern taxonomic groups.

Our most complete data set derives from rudist shells (mainly requieniid rudists) from the mid-Barremian to early Aptian sample locations of Sausset (Urgonian Limestone Formation, France), Ericeira (Crismina Formation, Portugal), Kanfanar (Kanfanar unit, Croatia), and Miravete (Villarova de los Pinares Formation, Spain). We compare their δ7Li compositions and trends therein with that of cotemporaneous carbonate-rich sediments. We provide preliminary δ7LiSW for several time intervals which range between 22-25‰ on average with values exceeding 30‰ in the late Barremian.

Relative to published bulk carbonate data, we observe a systematic offset for rudist-shell δ7Li values of 3-8‰ towards heavier values. We assign this offset to vital effects similar to those known for modern calcitic molluscs.


Vanessa Schlidt1, Sandra Janina Huber1, René Hoffmann2, Ulrich Heimhofer3, Elisabetta Erba4, Cinzia Bottini4, Stefan Huck3, Hans-Michael Seitz1, Silke Voigt1
1Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Geosciences, Altenhöferallee 1, 60438 Frankfurt (Germany);FIERCE - Frankfurt Isotope & Element Research Center, Altenhöferallee 1, 60438 Frankfurt, Germany; 2Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Institute for Geology, Mineralogy and Geophysics, Universitätsstraße 150, 44801 Bochum (Germany); 3Leibniz University Hannover, Institute of Geology, Callinstraße 30, 30167 Hannover (Germany); 4Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra Ardito Desio, Via Mangiagalli 34, 0039 02 Milan (Italy)
GeoBerlin 2023