Shells of the giant clam Tridacna can provide decade-long records of past environmental conditions via their geochemical composition and structurally through growth banding. Counting the daily bands can give an accurate internal age model with high temporal resolution, but daily banding is not always visually retrievable, especially in fossil specimens. We show that daily geochemical cycles (e.g., Mg/Ca) are resolvable via highly spatially resolved laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS; 3 × 33 μm laser slit) in our Miocene (∼10 Ma) specimen, even in areas where daily banding is not visually discernible. By applying wavelet transformation on the measured daily geochemical cycles, we quantify varying daily growth rates throughout the shell. These growth rates are thus used to build an internal age model independent of optical daily band countability. Such an age model can be used to convert the measured elemental ratios from a function of distance to a function of time, which helps evaluate paleoenvironmental proxy data, for example, regarding the timing of sub-seasonal events. Furthermore, the quantification of daily growth rates across the shell facilitates the evaluation of (co)dependencies between growth rates and corresponding elemental compositions.

American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

Released under the CC-BY 4.0 ("Attribution 4.0 International") License

Staff publications

Arndt, Iris, Coenen, Douglas, Evans, David, Renema, W., & Müller, Wolfgang. (2023). Quantifying Sub‐Seasonal Growth Rate Changes in Fossil Giant Clams Using Wavelet Transformation of Daily Mg/Ca Cycles. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 24(10). doi:10.1029/2023gc010992