Tracing water mass mixing in the Cape Basin and the restricted Angola Basin with radiogenic neodymium isotopes

In the frame of GEOTRACES cruise GA08, Rahlf et al. (2020, see reference below) determined seawater profiles of dissolved radiogenic neodymium isotope signatures (εNd) and neodymium concentrations across the restricted western Angola Basin and along the northern Cape Basin to investigate mixing and provenance of water masses. Nd isotope compositions of deep water masses in both basins primarily reflect conservative water mass mixing, except the central Angola Basin, which is significantly overprinted by terrestrial inputs. Bottom waters of the Cape Basin show some excess Nd concentrations released from detrital sediments, however, without significantly changing their Nd isotopic compositions ranging between εNd -9.6 and 10.5. Highly unradiogenic εNd signatures of up to -17.6 in the upper water column originate from a west African coastal plume in the Angola Basin and from Mozambique Channel surface waters advected into the Cape Basin.

19 Rahlf

Figure: Nd isotope distributions in the western Angola Basin (left section) and the northern Cape Basin (right section) along the cruise track of GA08, combined with isotope data obtained further south from cruise ANT-XXIIV/3 (Stichel et al., 2012). Dashed lines indicate approximate boundaries of the prevailing water masses. The figure is adopted from Rahlf et al. (2020). Click here to view the figure in new window.


Rahlf, P., Hathorne, Ed., Laukert, G., Gutjahr, M., Weldeab, S., Frank, M. (2020). Tracing water mass mixing and continental inputs in the southeastern Atlantic Ocean with dissolved neodymium isotopes. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., in press, DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.115944.

Stichel, T., Frank, M., Rickli, J., Haley, B.A. (2012). The hafnium and neodymium isotope composition of seawater in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 317–318, 282–294.

Latest highlights

Science Highlights

Rare Earth Elements and neodymium isotopes as tracers in the Mediterranean Sea

Garcia-Solsona and co-workers analysed 9 seawater stations around the central Mediterranean Sea…


Science Highlights

A new model simulates the speciation and dispersion of hydrothermal iron

Roshan and collaborators present new observations of dissolved iron and its physical speciation in the South Pacific


Science Highlights

Mechanisms driving biological CO2 drawdown in the Subarctic Pacific unraveled

Nishioka and co-authors compiled comprehensive data sets of iron and macronutrients covering the whole subarctic Pacific…


Science Highlights

The biogeochemical ventures of dissolved iron and manganese across the Arctic Ocean

The spatial distributions and biogeochemical cycling of dissolved Fe (dFe) and dissolved manganese (dMn) across the Arctic Ocean were established during summer and fall 2015. The Canadian GEOTRACES transect extended from the Canada Basin (CB) to the Labrador Sea (LS) via the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA). The surface, subsurface and deep water distributions for both […]