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Geochemical evidence of Saharan dust parent material for soils developed on Quaternary limestones of Caribbean and western Atlantic islands

Quaternary Research

By:
, , , ,
DOI: 10.1016/0033-5894(90)90016-E

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Abstract

Most previous workers have regarded the insoluble residues of high-purity Quaternary limestones (coral reefs and oolites) as the most important parent material for well-developed, clay-rich soils on Caribbean and western Atlantic islands, but this genetic mechanism requires unreasonable amounts of limestone solution in Quaternary time. Other possible parent materials from external sources are volcanic ash from the Lesser Antilles island arc and Saharan dust carried across the Atlantic Ocean on the northeast trade winds. Soils on Quaternary coral terraces and carbonate eolianites on Barbados, Jamaica, the Florida Keys (United States), and New Providence Island (Bahamas) were studied to determine which, if either, external source was important. Caribbean volcanic ashes and Saharan dust can be clearly distinguished using ratios of relatively immobile elements ( Al2O3 TiO2, Ti Y, Ti Zr, and Ti Th). Comparison of these ratios in 25 soils, where estimated ages range from 125,000 to about 870,000 yr, shows that Saharan dust is the most important parent material for soils on all islands. These results indicate that the northeast trade winds have been an important component of the regional climatology for much of the Quaterary. Saharan dust may also be an important parent material for Caribbean island bauxites of much greater age. ?? 1990.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Geochemical evidence of Saharan dust parent material for soils developed on Quaternary limestones of Caribbean and western Atlantic islands
Series title:
Quaternary Research
DOI:
10.1016/0033-5894(90)90016-E
Volume
33
Issue:
2
Year Published:
1990
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Publisher location:
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
157
Last page:
177
Number of Pages:
21