Back to overview

Determination of the Mg/Mn ratio in foraminiferal coatings: An approach to correct Mg/Ca temperatures for Mn-rich contaminant phases

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Martinez-Garcia Alfredo, Jaccard Samuel L., Vance Derek, Wälle Markus, Greaves Mervyn, Haug Gerald, Hasenfratz Adam,
Project SeaO2 - Past changes in Southern Ocean overturning circulation - implications for the partitioning of carbon and oxygen between the ocean and the atmosphere
Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Earth and Planetary Science Letter
Volume (Issue) 457
Page(s) 335 - 357
Title of proceedings Earth and Planetary Science Letter
DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.10.004


The occurrence of manganese-rich coatings on foraminifera can have a significant effect on their bulk Mg/Ca ratios thereby biasing seawater temperature reconstructions. The removal of this Mn phase requires a reductive cleaning step, but this has been suggested to preferentially dissolve Mg-rich biogenic carbonate, potentially introducing an analytical bias in paleotemperature estimates. In this study, the geochemical composition of foraminifera tests from Mn-rich sediments from the Antarctic Southern Ocean (ODP Site 1094) was investigated using solution-based and laser ablation ICP-MS in order to determine the amount of Mg incorporated into the coatings. The analysis of planktonic and benthic foraminifera revealed a nearly constant Mg/Mn ratio in the Mn coating of ∼0.2mol/mol. Consequently, the coating Mg/Mn ratio can be used to correct for the Mg incorporated into the Mn phase by using the down core Mn/Ca values of samples that have not been reductively cleaned. The consistency of the coating Mg/Mn ratio obtained in this study, as well as that found in samples from the Panama Basin, suggests that spatial variation of Mg/Mn in foraminiferal Mn overgrowths may be smaller than expected from Mn nodules and Mn–Ca carbonates. However, a site-specific assessment of the Mg/Mn ratio in foraminiferal coatings is recommended to improve the accuracy of the correction.