Strontium isotope ratios assist ecosystem scientists in constraining the sources of alkaline earth elements, but their interpretation can be difficult because of complexities in mineral weathering and in the geographical and environmental controls on elemental additions and losses. Hawaii is a "natural laboratory" where a number of important biogeochemical variables have either limited ranges or vary in systematic ways, providing a unique opportunity to understand the impact of time, climate, and atmospheric inputs on the evolution of base cation sources to ecosystems. There are three major sources of strontium (Sr) to these ecosystems, each with distinct isotopic compositions: basalt lava, Asian dust, and rainfall. We present Sr isotope and concentration data on both bulk soil digests and NH4Ac extracts from soil profiles covering a wide range of environments and substrate ages. Bulk soil material from dry climates and/or young substrate ages with > 80????g g- 1 Sr retain basalt-like Sr isotopic signatures, whereas those with Sr concentrations < 80????g g- 1 can have isotope signatures that range from basalt-like values to the more radiogenic values associated with continental dust. Although both dust accumulation and lava weathering are time- and rainfall-dependent, the overall concentration of Sr drops with increasing leaching even as quartz and mica derived from continental dust sources increase to > 40% by mass. At elevated dust levels, lava-derived Sr is low and dust-derived Sr is the dominant control of 87Sr/86Sr in bulk soils; however, 87Sr/86Sr of NH4Ac-extractable Sr largely reflects atmospheric deposition of marine aerosol in these situations. Overall, whole-soil Sr isotope values are controlled by complex interactions between Sr provided by lava weathering but partially lost by leaching, and Sr provided by dust but held in more resistant minerals. The isotopic composition of NH4Ac-extractable Sr and of the biota is controlled by lava weathering and rainfall contribution of Sr with only minor contributions from radiogenic dust sources. ?? 2009 Elsevier B.V.
Additional publication details
Changing sources of strontium to soils and ecosystems across the Hawaiian Islands