Nitrogen isotopes in deep time
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Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for life, and its sources and cycling have varied over earth history. Stable isotope ratios of nitrogen compounds (expressed as δ15N, in ‰) are preserved in the sedimentary record and track these changes, providing important insights into associated biogeochemical feedbacks. Here we review the use of nitrogen stable isotope geochemistry in unravelling the evolution of the global N cycle in deep time. We highlight difficulties with preservation, unambiguous interpretations, and local versus global effects. We end with several case studies illustrating how depositional and stratigraphic context is crucial in reliably interpreting δ15N records in ancient marine sediments, both in ancient anoxic (Archean) and more recent well oxygenated (Phanerozoic) environments.
Mettam , C & Zerkle , A L 2021 , Nitrogen isotopes in deep time . in T Lyons , A Turchyn & C Reinhard (eds) , Cambridge Elements . Elements in geochemical tracers in Earth system science , Cambridge University Press . https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108847186
Copyright © Colin Mettam and Aubrey L. Zerkle 2021. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108847186
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