Thorium-derived dust fluxes to the tropical Pacific Ocean, 58 Ma Academic Article uri icon


  • Eolian dust in pelagic deep sea sediments can be used to reconstruct ancient wind patterns and paleoenvironmental response to climate change. Traditional methods to determine dust accumulation involve isolating the non-dissolvable aluminosilicate minerals from deep sea sediments through a series of chemical leaches, but cannot differentiate between minerals from eolian, authigenic and volcanogenic sources. Other geochemical proxies, such as sedimentary 232Th and crustal 4He content, have been used to construct high-resolution records of atmospheric dust fluxes to the deep sea during the Quaternary. Here we use sedimentary Th content as a proxy for terrigenous material (eolian dust) in ~58Myr-old sediments from the Shatsky Rise (ODP Site 1209) and compare our results with previous dust estimates generated using the traditional chemical extraction method and sedimentary 4He crustal concentrations. We find excellent agreement between Th-based dust estimates and those generated using the traditional method. In addition our results show a correlation between sedimentary Th and 4He crustal content, which suggests a source older than present day Asian loess supplied dust to the central subtropical Pacific Ocean during the early Paleogene. 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Woodard, S. C., Thomas, D. J., & Marcantonio, F.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Woodard, Stella C||Thomas, Deborah J||Marcantonio, Franco

publication date

  • June 2012