Hydrogenetic ferromanganese (Fe-Mn) crusts from the western North Atlantic record variations in the Nd and Pb isotopic composition of Cenozoic deep water preserved during their growth. The timing and cause of the most striking change have been the subject of debate. Some have proposed that the shift took place after 4 Ma in response to the closure of the Panama gateway. Others have argued that the major change in isotope composition occurred as early as 8 Ma. This study presents high-resolution Nd isotope records for crusts previously dated using 10Be/9Be chronology. These data confirm that the shifts in Nd occurred after 4 Ma, consistent with a likely relationship with the closure of the Central American Isthmus and intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation, and in accordance with changes seen in other physical and chemical records. These results illustrate the need for both a robust chronological framework and high-resolution records before a reliable paleoceanographic interpretation can be made of the variations recorded by Fe-Mn crusts.
Additional publication details
Actual timing of neodymium isotopic variations recorded by Fe-Mn crusts in the western North Atlantic