A comparison of the palaeoclimate signals from diatom oxygen isotope ratios and carbonate oxygen isotope ratios from a low latitude crater lake

Lamb, Angela L.; Leng, Melanie J. ORCID:; Sloane, Hilary J.; Telford, Richard J.. 2005 A comparison of the palaeoclimate signals from diatom oxygen isotope ratios and carbonate oxygen isotope ratios from a low latitude crater lake. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 223 (3-4). 290-302.

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The analysis of oxygen isotope ratios (δ18O) from authigenic lake carbonates has become a well-established palaeoclimate technique. Less common is the use of δ18O in biogenic silica (e.g. diatoms, sponge spicules, phytoliths), but the technique is being increasingly utilised for non-carbonate lakes. This paper aims to compare δ18Odiatom with δ18Ocarbonate in a low latitude, closed basin lake. Due to the influence of pH, rarely are both carbonate and diatoms preserved in lake sediments in concentrations high enough to measure oxygen isotopes. The δ18O composition of both carbonate and silica should reflect the isotope composition and temperature of the lake water at the time of precipitation and hence theoretically they should be equivalent. Only one comparative study of δ18Odiatom and δ18Ocarbonate currently exists and that found differences between their δ18O compositions, probably because they precipitated in different seasons. Unless there is evidence to suggest that silica and carbonate precipitate at the same time, their δ18O records are likely to be different but complementary. In this study, we show that δ18Odiatom and δ18Ocalcite from Lake Tilo, Ethiopia show some similar broad climate trends. However, the δ18Odiatom curve is generally more variable and does not record two regional arid events, picked up by the δ18Ocalcite data. Several possible reasons for this are discussed: the precision of the δ18Odiatom extraction technique, contamination of the diatom samples from tephra (volcanic glass), vital effects in the diatom samples, differences in their respective equilibrium isotope fractionation rates and the possibility that the dominant diatom, Aulacoseira granulata, and calcite precipitated in different seasons during this time. Currently, the problems associated with the cleaning and extraction of δ18Odiatom suggests that details found in δ18Ocalcite records may be lost in δ18Odiatom records where contaminants such as tephra and clay minerals are difficult to remove.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes > NERC Isotope Geoscience Laboratory
ISSN: 0031-0182
Date made live: 16 Nov 2011 14:56 +0 (UTC)

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