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Ocean mixing and ice-sheet control of seawater 234U/238U during the last deglaciation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-629
Number of pages4
Issue number6312
Early online date6 Oct 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 22 Sep 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 6 Oct 2016
DatePublished (current) - 4 Nov 2016


Seawater 234U/238U provides global-scale information about continental weathering and is vital for marine uranium-series geochronology. Existing evidence supports an increase in 234U/238U since the last glacial period, but the timing and amplitude of its variability has been poorly constrained. Here we report two seawater 234U/238U records based on well-preserved deep-sea corals from the low-latitude Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Atlantic 234U/238U started to increase before major sea-level rise and overshot the modern value by 3 per mil during the early deglaciation. Deglacial 234U/238U in the Pacific converged with that in the Atlantic after the abrupt resumption of Atlantic meridional overturning.We suggest that ocean mixing and early deglacial release of excess 234U from enhanced subglacial melting of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets have driven the observed 234U/238U evolution.

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