EGU22-4660, updated on 27 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Mo isotope variability records climate-driven water column redox changes in ferruginous Lake Towuti, Indonesia over the past ~30 kyrs

Adrianus Damanik1,2, Martin Wille1, Qasid Ahmad1, James M. Russell3, Satria Bijaksana4, Martin Grosjean2,5, Sri Yudawati Cahyarini6, and Hendrik Vogel1,2
Adrianus Damanik et al.
  • 1Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland (
  • 2Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 3Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, Brown University, Providence, USA
  • 4Faculty of Mining and Petroleum Engineering, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Bandung, Indonesia
  • 5Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 6Paleoclimate & Paleoenvironment Research Group-Research Center of Geotechnology, National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Bandung, Indonesia

Variation in molybdenum (Mo) concentration and isotope composition is an established tracer for redox changes in marine environments. Here we apply Mo as a proxy of past water column oxygenation in ancient ferruginous and hyposulfidic Lake Towuti. Lake Towuti is >1.2 Myrs old, up to 200m deep, weakly stratified and anoxic below ~100 m water depth, and surrounded by an ultramafic bedrock-dominated catchment in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Despite the current permanent stratification, deeper water mixing and oxygenation occurred periodically in the past due to Towuti’s sensitivity to climate change. To better reconstruct the redox changes through time, we present Mo concentration and isotope data from laterite profiles overlying ultramafic bedrock, lake surface sediments, and a ~30 kyr sediment piston core from Lake Towuti, Indonesia.

Although Mo concentrations in laterite profiles are overall higher compared to the underlying bedrock, the absence of a significant Mo isotopic variability with values close to the unweathered ultramafic protolith, varying from –0.16‰ to –0.04‰ δ98MoNIST3134, suggests low aqueous mobility of Mo during weathering due to the formation of laterite Fe-oxides. In contrast to the laterite samples, Mo isotopic variability in lake surface sediments show a larger variability varying from –1.15‰ to –0.13‰ δ98MoNIST3134 with a significantly lighter Mo isotopic composition in sediments deposited under oxic bottom water conditions. This light Mo isotopic composition is likely caused by early diagenetic redox cycling of Mo and Fe at the sediment-water interface. In the deeper, anoxic parts of the basin, Mo isotopic compositions show values close to the laterite input with elevated sedimentary Mo concentrations which are likely the result of an authigenic Mo enrichment from the water column. Mo isotope variability in sediments taken from a piston core in the deep part of the lake is in the range of Mo isotope compositions from modern surface sediments, varying from –0.14‰ to –0.66‰ δ98MoNIST3134. Interestingly, this variability is well correlated with local and global indicators of climate change from previous studies. Sediments deposited between ~30 kyr and ~10 kyr exhibit Mo isotope signatures similar to present-day oxygenated shallow water sites, thereby suggesting enhanced lake mixing and bottom water oxygenation under drier and colder climate conditions of the last glacial period. Sediments deposited since ~10 kyr under wetter and warmer climate conditions exhibit Mo isotope signatures similar to present-day anoxic deeper water settings. These suggest that Mo isotope compositions of lake sediments are potential quantitative indicators of past climate-driven water column oxygenation.

How to cite: Damanik, A., Wille, M., Ahmad, Q., Russell, J. M., Bijaksana, S., Grosjean, M., Cahyarini, S. Y., and Vogel, H.: Mo isotope variability records climate-driven water column redox changes in ferruginous Lake Towuti, Indonesia over the past ~30 kyrs, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4660,, 2022.


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