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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Volume (Issue) 75(1)
Page(s) 256 - 266
Title of proceedings QUATERNARY RESEARCH


The alternation of carbonate deposits and paleosols compose the emerged part of the Bermuda archipelago.The pedological units present a complex and diversified mineralogy. Former studies demonstrated that the paleosols are not primarily a product of the unique dissolution of the surrounding carbonates, but contain a massive input of allochthonous non-carbonate detrital material. Researchers during more than the past three decades have attributed this flux of insoluble residues (IR) to Saharan dusts. We carried out systematic field and mineralogical analyses on the Quaternary paleosols from the Bermuda archipelago. Their mineralogical assemblage predominantly includes carbonates, clay minerals (kaolinite, chlorite and chlorite/vermiculite), phosphates, and aluminium and iron oxides/hydroxides. This assemblage is strikingly close to the mineralogy of the weathered volcanic substrate of Bermuda, but noticeably different from the mineralogy of Saharan dust. Moreover, we found volcanic lithoclasts in numerous paleosol profiles all over the archipelago and in all the recorded time intervals. We thus consider the volcanic seamount underlying Bermuda as the main source of non-carbonate minerals detected in the paleosols. This hypothesis further resolves the anomalous maturity of Bermudan paleosols compared to their southern counterparts in the Bahamas and Barbados.