Aging of basalt volcanic systems and decreasing CO<sub>2</sub> consumption by weathering

Börker, Janine; Hartmann, Jens; Romero-Mujalli, Gibran; Li, Gaojun

Basalt weathering is one of many relevant processes balancing the global carbon cycle via land–ocean alkalinity fluxes. The CO2 consumption by weathering can be calculated using alkalinity and is often scaled with runoff and/or temperature. Here, it is tested if the surface age distribution of a volcanic system derived by geological maps is a useful proxy for changes in alkalinity production with time.

A linear relationship between temperature normalized alkalinity fluxes and the Holocene area fraction of a volcanic field was identified using information from 33 basalt volcanic fields, with an r2=0.93. This relationship is interpreted as an aging function and suggests that fluxes from Holocene areas are ∼10 times higher than those from old inactive volcanic fields. However, the cause for the decrease with time is probably a combination of effects, including a decrease in alkalinity production from material in the shallow critical zone as well as a decline in hydrothermal activity and magmatic CO2 contribution. The addition of fresh reactive material on top of the critical zone has an effect in young active volcanic settings which should be accounted for, too.

A comparison with global models suggests that global alkalinity fluxes considering Holocene basalt areas are ∼60 % higher than the average from these models imply. The contribution of Holocene areas to the global basalt alkalinity fluxes is today however only ∼5 %, because identified, mapped Holocene basalt areas cover only ∼1 % of the existing basalt areas. The large trap basalt proportion on the global basalt areas today reduces the relevance of the aging effect. However, the aging effect might be a relevant process during periods of globally intensive volcanic activity, which remains to be tested.



Börker, Janine / Hartmann, Jens / Romero-Mujalli, Gibran / et al: Aging of basalt volcanic systems and decreasing CO<sub>2</sub> consumption by weathering. 2019. Copernicus Publications.


Rechteinhaber: Janine Börker et al.

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