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ESS: Himalayan Tectonics, Isotopes, and the Late Cenozoic Carbon Cycle: A Work in Progress by Professor Louis Derry, Cornell University

Date and Time: 
March 9, 2016 - 12:30pm to 1:20pm
Y2E2, #111
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 
(650) 724-4739
Event Sponsor: 
Department of Earth System Science

The Himalayan orogeny is widely believed to have had impacts on global climate, erosion and weathering fluxes, and the carbon cycle.  Despite many proposals, the connections between late Cenozoic Himalayan tectonic history, geochemical tracer records such as 87Sr/86Sr, 187Os/188Os, and d7Li, and the carbon cycle remain uncertain.  Both modern river fluxes and reconstructed fluxes based on sedimentary archives demonstrate that CO2 consumption by silicate weathering in the Himalaya is modest.  Metamorphic degassing of CO2 in the orogen offsets much of the weathering consumption such that the carbonate silicate cycle is near steady state. However, organic carbon storage in sediments has increased as a result of Himalayan erosion.  In order to reconcile tracer records that indicate increased weathering fluxes with late Cenozoic carbon cycle records (CCD, pCO2, d13C), we need to consider changes source regions, weathering intensity and in the ratios of silicate/carbonate and organic/carbonate weathering.