Climate Regulates Stable Weathering Fluxes over Interglacial-Glacial Cycles
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Feedbacks between climate, tectonics and erosion drive mineral dissolution in the subsurface and may provide strong controls on chemical weathering as a mechanism for modulating climate through CO2 drawdown. However, few quantitative evaluations of chemical weathering intensity or flux variations with time exist to support this hypothesized feedback. Trace element concentrations in colluvial sediment demonstrate that in unglaciated mid-latitude terrain, climate exerts a strong control on chemical weathering intensity and erosion over glacial-interglacial cycles by modulating the efficacy of abiotic and biotic processes. Weakly chemically altered sediment corresponds with high erosion rates during the Last Glacial interval (vice versa during the Holocene) such that we observe stable weathering rates despite variations in temperature and vegetation. Our results suggest that climate-weathering feedbacks in mid-latitude regions may be weaker than previously hypothesized and provide a new framework to explain stable solute fluxes over Milankovitch climate fluctuations.