A comparative study of accumulation rates derived by He and Th isotope analysis of marine sediments Academic Article uri icon


  • We present a detailed down-core analysis of helium isotope ratios and concentrations for bulk sediments from the central Equatorial Pacific that span the last two glacial-interglacial cycles. Measured 3 He 4 He ratios range from 1.0 10 -5 to 2.1 10 -4 , or 7.4 to 149 times the atmospheric ratio. The 3 He from interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) constitutes virtually all of the 3 He measured within the sediment. Because carbonate accumulation rates are high in the Equatorial Pacific, the measured 3 He concentrations are lower than have been measured elsewhere, and range from 4.7 10 -13 to 3.0 10 -12 cm 3 STP g -1 . If the cosmic dust 3 He-flux is constant with time, sediment mass accumulation rates can be determined from the 3 He concentration in sediments. The excess 230 Th technique is an entirely independent method for calculating sediment mass accumulation rates because its source is in-situ decay of 234 U in seawater. To first order, initial excess 230 Th activities correlate with 3 He concentrations within this core. Based on the 230 Th results, we estimate the 3 He-flux to the Earth's surface as (9.6 2.0) 10 -16 cm 3 STP cm -2 a -1 . If this flux has remained constant over extended periods of time, it can be used to determine sediment accumulation rates beyond the 230 Th range (300,000 yr). 1995.

published proceedings

  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters

author list (cited authors)

  • Marcantonio, F., Kumar, N., Stute, M., Anderson, R. F., Seidl, M. A., Schlosser, P., & Mix, A.

citation count

  • 85

complete list of authors

  • Marcantonio, Franco||Kumar, Niraj||Stute, Martin||Anderson, Robert F||Seidl, Michele A||Schlosser, Peter||Mix, Alan

publication date

  • July 1995