Comparison of field and laboratory weathering rates in carbonate rocks from an Eastern Mediterranean drainage basin

Yael Levenson, Uri Ryb, Simon Emmanuel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The rates of carbonate rock weathering affect the global carbon cycle over timescales of hundreds to thousands of years. While field measurements show that the rate of carbonate denudation increases with rainfall, significant variability exists. To determine whether the mineralogical composition of the rocks causes this variability, we compare published long-term field denudation rates determined from cosmogenic isotopes (36Cl) with the weathering rates measured in laboratory experiments conducted on the same rock samples. The samples were collected from natural-rock outcrops across the Soreq drainage basin (Israel) that experience similar mean annual precipitation, but exhibit long-term denudation rates that vary from 6 mm ky−1 to 20 mm ky−1. In laboratory experiments, we found that the laboratory rates also varied, decreasing as the ratio of dolomite to calcite increased. However, no correlation was evident between the long-term denudation rates and mineral composition, suggesting that the variability in field rates was not controlled by the kinetics of dissolution. Other factors, such as rain intensity, biological activity, and mechanical erosion are likely to control the variability in the rates by inhibiting or accelerating the weathering of carbonate surfaces in natural settings.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)176-183
Number of pages8
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - 1 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • atomic force microscopy
  • carbonate rock
  • denudation
  • weathering


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