Lithium isotopes are a relatively novel tracer of present and past silicate weathering processes. Given that silicate weathering is the primary long-term method by which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere, Li isotope research is going through an exciting phase. We show the weathering processes that fractionate dissolved and sedimentary Li isotope ratios, focusing on weathering intensity and clay formation. We then discuss the carbonate and silicate archive potential of past seawater δ7Li. These archives have been used to examine Li isotope changes across both short and long timescales. The former can demonstrate the rates at which the climate is stabilised from perturbations via weathering, a fundamental piece of the puzzle of the long-term carbon cycle.
1. Lithium isotopes as a tracer of silicate weathering intensity
2. Methods and archive materials
3. Li isotopes in pre-Cenozoic archives
4. Developing a mechanistic understanding of Li isotope fractionation
5. Future prospects