Meteoric sphaerosiderite lines and their use for paleohydrology and paleoclimatology

Greg A. Ludvigson, Luis A. González, Ronald A. Metzger, Brian J. Witzke, Robert L. Brenner, Angela P. Murillo, Tim S. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Sphaerosiderite, a morphologically distinct millimeter-scale spherulitic siderite (FeCO3), forms predominantly in wetland soils and sediments, and is common in the geologic record. Ancient sphaerosiderites are found in paleosol horizons within coal-bearing stratigraphic intervals and, like their modern counterparts, are interpreted as having formed in water-saturated environments. Here we report on sphaerosiderites from four different stratigraphic units, each of which has highly variable 13C and relatively stable 18O compositions. The unique isotopic trends are analogous to well-documented meteoric calcite lines, which we define here as meteoric sphaerosiderite lines. Meteoric sphaerosiderite lines provide a new means of constraining ground-water δ18O and thus allow evaluation of paleohydrology and paleoclimate in humid continental settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1039-1042
Number of pages4
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


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