Bernhardt, A.; Oelze, M.; Bouchez, J.; Blanckenburg, F. von; Mohtadi, M.; Christl, M.; Wittmann, H.
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As reverse weathering has been shown to impact long‐term changes in atmospheric CO2 levels, it is crucial to develop quantitative tools to reconstruct marine authigenic clay formation. We explored the potential of the beryllium (Be) isotope ratio (10Be/9Be) recorded in marine clay‐sized sediment to track neoformation of authigenic clays. The power of such proxy relies on the orders‐of‐magnitude difference in 10Be/9Be ratios between continental Be and Be dissolved in seawater. On marine sediments collected along a Chilean margin transect we chemically extracted reactive phases and separated the clay‐sized fraction to compare the riverine and marine 10Be/9Be ratio of this fraction. 10Be/9Be ratios increase fourfold from riverine to marine sediment. We attribute this increase to the incorporation of Be high in 10Be/9Be from dissolved biogenic opal, which also serves as a Si‐source for the precipitation of marine authigenic clays. 10Be/9Be ratios thus sensitively track reverse‐weathering reactions forming marine authigenic clays.