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Carbonate clumped isotope thermometry of deep-sea corals and implications for vital effects

Thiagarajan, Nivedita; Adkins, Jess F.; Eiler, John

Here we calibrate the carbonate clumped isotope thermometer in modern deep-sea corals. We examined 11 specimens of three species of deep-sea corals and one species of a surface coral spanning a total range in growth temperature of 2–25 °C. External standard errors for individual measurements ranged from 0.005‰ to 0.011‰ (average: 0.0074‰) which corresponds to ∼1–2 °C. External standard errors for replicate measurements of Δ47 in corals ranged from 0.002‰ to 0.014‰ (average: 0.0072‰) which corresponds to 0.4–2.8 °C. We find that skeletal carbonate from deep-sea corals shows the same relationship of Δ47 (the measure of 13C–18O ordering) to temperature as does inorganic calcite. In contrast, the δ13 C and δ18O values of these carbonates (measured simultaneously with Δ47 for every sample) differ markedly from equilibrium with seawater; i.e., these samples exhibit pronounced ‘vital effects’ in their bulk isotopic compositions. We explore several reasons why the clumped isotope compositions of deep-sea coral skeletons exhibit no evidence of a vital effect despite having large conventional isotopic vital effects.


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Also Published In

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Published Here
June 19, 2013