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Research and teaching centre
environmental geosciences
Research and teaching centre
environmental geosciences

Inorganic chemistry unit applications

High resolution palaeoenvironmental profiles

Numerous technical tests have allowed us to show that semi-quantitative analyses by XRF scanner can be calibrated with ICP-MS measurements (Böning et al. 2007, Cartapanis et al. 2011). The combination of the two methods makes it possible to assess the variability of climatic parameters such as river input (via characterisation of the terrigenous fraction with Ti, K, Si, Fe, etc.), biological productivity (with Br and Cd for organic matter, Ca and Sr for biogenic carbonates, Si/K or Si/Ti for opal), as well as the redox conditions in the water column or sediments (e.g. Fe/Ti, Mn/Ti, Mo, U, Cd)

We use major, minor and trace element records from marine sediment cores to reconstruct monsoon-related rainfall variability in the intertropics (Tachikawa et al. 2011), to study changes in deep water mass ventilation (Pailler et al. 2002, Bard & Rickaby 2009, Tachikawa et al. 2015) and intermediate water masses, especially at oxygen minimum zones (Böning & Bard 2009, Cartapanis et al. 2011, 2012, 2014), to highlight the contribution of rivers (Soulet et al. 2013), as well as to study the stratigraphy of sediments at high resolution (Darfeuil et al. 2016, Demory et al. 2019, Simon et al. 2020). We also contribute to lake sediment studies to monitor climate variability at different time scales, as well as to study anthropogenic impact at regional scales (Wilhelm et al. 2012, 2013, Jenny et al. 2013, Simonneau et al. 2013, Doyen et al. 2013, Brisset et al. 2013, 2019, Gasse et al. 2015, Guerra et al. 2017, Cartier et al. 2018, Jouve et al. 2019, Marriner et al. 2019, Rodriguez-Zorro et al. 2020, 2022, Van der Meeren et al. 2022).

Paleoceanographic indicators

Foraminifera have a calcareous skeleton (test) that records the physical and chemical properties of seawater. A frequently used application in paleoceanography is based on the Mg/Ca ratio as a thermometer (Barker al. 2005). Mg/Ca as well as other ratios (Sr/Ca, U/Ca) measured in corals can also be used as a palaeothermometer (Cardinal et al. 2001, Silenzi et al. 2005). The foraminiferal Mg/Ca ratio has been applied to many recent Quaternary archives, allowing us to assess the influence of radiative forcing in relation to atmospheric CO2 concentration on surface water temperature in the western tropical Pacific Ocean (Tachikawa et al. 2014) and to reconstruct the vertical thermal structure in the water column by combining several calcifying foraminiferal species at different depths (Regoli et al. 2015, Hollstein et al. 2018). The application of the Mg/Ca ratio is not limited to the Recent Quaternary. The proxy has allowed us to trace the North Atlantic surface circulation during the intensification of the Northern Hemisphere glaciation in the Plio-Pleistocene (Bolton et al. 2018). More recently, we revealed for the first time that the tropical ocean was cooled with an amplitude as large as 3ºC during the Late Miocene (9-5 Ma) (Martinot et al. 2022).

The analysis of Mg/Ca started with the ICP-OES of the CEREGE's joint chemistry service, but since 2017 the analyses are carried out using the ICP-QMS of the LGO2i, as well as to measure other elemental ratios from the same foraminifera. For example, the U/Ca ratio of foraminiferal tests varies depending on the amount of authigenic uranium precipitated on the tests from the ocean floor or in the sediments. It serves as an indicator of the oxygenation status of the deep water (Tachikawa et al. 2021).

References of the inorganic geochemistry unit


Rodríguez-Zorro PA, Ledru MP, Favier C, Bard E, Bicudo DC, Garcia M, Marquardt G, Rostek F, Sawakuchi AO, Simon Q, Tachikawa K, Alternate Atlantic forest and climate phases during the early Pleistocene 41 kyr cycles in southeastern Brazil, Quaternary Science Reviews 286, 107560, 1-15, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2022.107560 (2022).

Martinot C, Bolton CT, Sarr AC, Donnadieu Y, Garcia M, Gray E, Tachikawa K. Drivers of Late Miocene Tropical Sea Surface Cooling: A New Perspective From the Equatorial Indian Ocean. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 37, e2021PA004407, DOI: 10.1029/2021PA004407 (2022).

Van der Meeren T., Verschuren D., Sylvestre F., Nassour Y.A., Naudts E.L., Aguilar Ortiz L.E., Deschamps P., Tachikawa K., Bard E., Schuster M., Abderamane M. A predominantly tropical influence on late Holocene hydroclimate variation in the hyperarid central Sahara. Science Advances, eabk1261, 8, 1-10, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abk1261 (2022).


Tachikawa K, Rapuc W, Vidal L, Dubois-Dauphin Q, Westerhold T, Guihou A, Bickert T, Pérez-Asensio JN, Deschamps P, Skonieczny C. Eastern Atlantic deep-water circulation and carbon storage inferred from neodymium and carbon isotopic compositions over the past 1.1 million years. Quat. Sci. Rev. 252, 106752, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106752 (2021).


Simon Q, Ledru M-P, Sawakuchi AO, Favier C, Mineli TD, Grohmann CH, Guedes M, Bard E, Thouveny N, Garcia M, Tachikawa K, Rodríguez-Zorro PA, ASTER Team. Chronostratigraphy of a 1.5±0.1 Ma composite sedimentary record from Colônia basin (SE Brazil): Bayesian modeling based on paleomagnetic, authigenic 10Be/9Be, radiocarbon and luminescence dating. Quaternary Geochronology 58, 101081, 1-18, DOI: 10.1016/j.quageo.2020.101081 (2020).

Rodriguez-Zorro PA, Ledru MP, Bard E, Aquino-Alfonso O, Camejo A, Daniau AL, Favier C, Garcia M, Mineli TD, Rostek F, Sawakuchi A, Simon Q, Tachikawa K, Thouveny N. Shut down of the South American summer monsoon during the penultimate glacial. Scientific Reports 10: 6275, 1-11, + 18 p. suppl, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-62888-x (2020).


Demory F, Uehara M, Quesnel Y, Rochette P, Romey C, Tachikawa K, Garcia M, Borschneck D, Pignol L, Bard E, Andrieu-Ponel V (2019). A new high-resolution magnetic scanner for sedimentary sections. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 20 (7), 3186-3200, DOI: 10.1029/2019GC008343 (2019).

Marriner N, Kaniewski D, Gambin T, Gambin B, Vanniere B, Morhange C, Djamali M, Tachikawa K, Robin V, Rius D, Bard E. Fire as a motor of rapid environmental degradation during the earliest peopling of Malta 7500 years ago. Quaternary Science Reviews 212, 199-205, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.03.001 (2019). 

Brisset E, Djamali M, Bard E, Borschneck D, Gandouin E, Garcia M, Stevens L, Tachikawa K. Late Holocene hydrology of Lake Maharlou, southwest Iran, inferred from high-resolution sedimentological and geochemical analyses Journal of Paleolimnology 61, 111-128, DOI: 10.1007/s10933-018-0048-6 (2019).

Jouve G, Vidal L, Adallala R, Rhoujjati A, Benkaddour A, Chapron E, Tachikawa K, Bard E, Courp T, Dezileau L, Hebert B, Rapuc W, Simonneau A, Sonzogni C, Sylvestre F. Recent hydrological variability of the Moroccan Middle Atlas Mountains inferred from microscale sedimentological and geochemical analyses of lake sediments Quaternary Research 91 (1), 414-430, DOI: 10.1017/qua.2018.94 (2019).


Hollstein M, Mohtadi M, Rosenthal Y, Prange M, Oppo DW, Martínez Méndez G, Tachikawa K, Moffa Sanchez P, Steinke S, Hebbeln D. Variations in Western Pacific Warm Pool surface and thermocline conditions over the past 110,000 years: Forcing mechanisms and implications for the glacial Walker circulation. Quat. Sci. Rev. 201, 429-445, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.10.030 (2018).

Bolton CT, Bailey I, Friedrich O, Tachikawa K, Garidel-Thoron T, Vidal L, Sonzogni C, Marino G, Rohling EJ, Robinson MM, Ermini M, Koch M, Cooper MJ, Wilson PA. North Atlantic Midlatitude Surface-Circulation Changes Through the Plio-Pleistocene Intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 33, 1186-1205, DOI:10.1029/2018PA003412 (2018).

Cartier R, Brisset E, Guiter F, Sylvestre F, Tachikawa K, Anthony EJ, Paillès C, Bruneton H, Bard E, Miramont C. Multiproxy analyses of Lake Allos reveal synchronicity and divergence in geosystem dynamics during the Lateglacial/Holocene in the Alps. Quaternary Science Reviews 186, 60-77, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.02.016 (2018).


Guerra L, Piovano EL, Córdoba FE, Tachikawa K, Rostek F, Garcia M, Bard E, Sylvestre S. Climate change evidences from the end of the Little Ice Age to the Current Warm Period recorded by Melincué Lake (Northern Pampas, Argentina). Quaternary International 438 (A), 160-174, DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2016.06.033 (2017).


Shumilovskikh LS, Hopper K, Djamali M, Ponel P, Demory F, Rostek F, Tachikawa K, Bittmann F, Golyeva A, Guibal F, Talon B, Wang LC, Nezamabadi M, Bard E, Lahijani H, Nokandeh J, Rekavandi HO, de Beaulieu JL, Sauer S, Andrieu-Ponel V. Landscape evolution and agro-sylvo-pastoral activities on the Gorgan Plain (NE Iran) in the last 6000 years. The Holocene 26, 1676-1691, DOI: 10.1177/0959683616646841 (2016).

Chassiot L, Chapron E, Di Giovanni C, Lajeunesse P, Tachikawa K, Garcia M, Bard E. Historical seismicity of the Mont Dore volcanic province (Auvergne, France) unraveled by a regional lacustrine investigation: New insights about lake sensitivity to earthquakes. Sedimentary Geology 339, 134-150, DOI: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2016.04.007 (2016).

Darfeuil S, Ménot G, Giraud X, Rostek F, Tachikawa K, Garcia M, Bard E. Sea surface temperature reconstructions over the last 70 kyr off Portugal: biomarker data and regional modeling. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 31, 40-65, + 15 p. suppl, DOI: 10.1002/2015PA002831 (2016).


Regoli F, de Garidel-Thoron T, Tachikawa K, Jian Z, Ye L, Droxler AW, Lenoir G, Crucifix M, Barbarin N, Beaufort L. Progressive shoaling of the equatorial Pacific thermocline over the last eight glacial periods. Paleoceanography 30, 439-455, DOI: 10.1002/2014PA002696 (2015).

Gasse F, Vidal L, Van Campo E, Demory F, Develle AL, Tachikawa K, Elias A, Bard E, Garcia M, Sonzogni C, Thouveny N. Hydroclimatic changes in northern Levant over the past 400,000 years. Quaternary Science Reviews 111, 1-8, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.12.019 (2015).

Tachikawa K, Vidal L, Cornuault M, Garcia M, Pothin A, Sonzogni C, Bard E, Menot G, Revel M. Eastern Mediterranean Sea circulation inferred from the conditions of S1 sapropel deposition. Climate of the Past 11, 855-867, DOI: 10.5194/cp-11-855-2015 (2015).


Tachikawa K, Timmermann A, Vidal L, Sonzogni C & Timm OE. CO2 radiative forcing and Intertropical Convergence Zone influences on western Pacific warm pool climate over the past 400ka. Quat. Sci. Rev. 86, 24-34, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.12.018 (2014).

Cartapanis O, Tachikawa K, Romero OE, Bard E. Persistent millennial-scale link between Greenland climate and northern Pacific Oxygen Minimum Zone under interglacial conditions. Climate of the Past 10, 405-418, DOI: 10.5194/cp-10-405-2014, (2014).


Brisset E, Miramont C, Guiter F, Anthony EJ, Tachikawa K, Poulenard J, Arnaud F, Delhon C, Meunier J-D, Bard E, Suméra F. Non-reversible geosystem destabilisation at 4200 cal. BP: Sedimentological, geochemical and botanical markers of soil erosion recorded in a Mediterranean alpine lake. The Holocene 23, 1863-1874, DOI: 10.1177/0959683613508158, (2013).

Simonneau A, Chapron E, Courp T, Tachikawa K, Le Roux G, Baron S, Galop D, Garcia M, Di Giovanni C, Motellica-Heino M, Mazier F, Foucher A, Houet T, Desmet M, Bard E. Recent climatic and anthropogenic imprints on lacustrine systems in the Pyrenean Mountains inferred from minerogenic and organic clastic supply (Vicdessos valley, Pyrenees, France) The Holocene 23, 1764-1777, DOI: 10.1177/0959683613505340, (2013).

Jenny JP, Arnaud F, Dorioz JM, Giguet Covex C, Frossard V, Sabatier P, Millet L, Reyss JL, Tachikawa K, Bard E, Pignol C, PSoufi F, Romeyer O, Perga ME. A spatiotemporal sediment investigation highlights the dynamics of hypolimnetic hypoxia in a large hard-water lake over the last 150 years. Limnology & Oceanography 58, 1395-1408, DOI: 10.4319/lo.2013.58.4.1395, (2013).

Soulet G, Ménot G, Bayon G, Rostek F, Ponzevera, Toucanne S, Lericolais G, Bard E. Abrupt drainage cycles of the Fennoscandian Ice sheet. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110 (17), 6682-6687, + 4 p. suppl. & 4 Tables, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1214676110, (2013).

Doyen E, Vannière B, Berger JF, Arnaud F, Tachikawa K, Bard E. Land-use changes and environmental dynamics in the upper Rhone valley since Neolithic times inferred from sediments in Lac Moras. The Holocene 23, 961-973, DOI: 10.1177/0959683612475142, (2013).

Wilhelm B, Arnaud F, Sabatier P, Magand O, Chapron E, Courp T, Tachikawa K, Fanget B, Malet E., Pignol C, Bard E, Delannoy J-J. Paleoflood activity and climate change over the last 1400 years recorded by lake sediments in the North-West European Alps. Journal of Quaternary Science 28, 189-199, DOI: 10.1002/jqs.2609, (2013).

Simonneau A, Doyen E, Chapron E, Millet L, Vannière B, Di Giovanni C, Bossard N, Tachikawa K, Bard E, Albéric P, Desmet M, Roux G, Lajeunesse P, Berger J-F, Arnaud F. Holocene land-use evolution and associated soil erosion in the French Prealps inferred from Lake Paladru sediments and archaeological evidences Journal of Archaeological Science 40, 1636-1645, DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2012.12.002, (2013).


Cartapanis O, Tachikawa K, Bard E. Latitudinal variations in intermediate depth ventilation and biological production over northeastern Pacific Oxygen Minimum Zones during the last glacial period. Quaternary Science Reviews 53, 24-38, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.08.009, (2012).

Wilhelm B, Arnaud F, Sabatier P, Crouzet C, Brisset E, Chaumillon E, Disnar JR, Guiter F, Malet E, Reyss JL, Tachikawa K, Bard E, Delannoy J-J. 1400yr of extreme precipitation patterns over the Mediterranean French Alps and possible forcing mechanisms Quaternary Research 78, 1-12, DOI: 10.1016/j.yqres.2012.03.003, (2012).


Tachikawa K, Cartapanis O, Vidal L, Beaufort L, Bard E. The precession phase of hydrological variability in the Western Pacific Warm Pool during the past 400 ka. Quaternary Science Reviews 30, 3716-3727, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.09.016, (2011).

Cartapanis O, Tachikawa K, Bard E. North-Eastern Pacific oxygen minimum zone variability over the past 70 kyr: Impact of primary production and oceanic circulation. Paleoceanography 26, PA4208, 1-17, DOI:10.1029/2011PA002126, (2011).

Sepulcre S, Vidal L, Tachikawa K, Rostek F, Bard E. Sea-surface salinity variations in the Northern Caribbean Sea across the mid-Pleistocene transition. Climate of the Past 7, 75-90, DOI: 10.5194/cp-7-75-2011, (2011).


Leduc G, Vidal L, Tachikawa K, Bard E. Evidences for Glacial North Pacific Intermediate Water formation during the last glacial period. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 298, 217-228, DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2010.08.002, (2010).


Sepulcre S, Tachikawa K, Vidal L, Thouveny N, Bard E. Preservation state of metastable magnesian calcite in periplatform sediments from the Walton Basin over the last million years. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems (G-cubed) 10, 1-15, DOI: 10.1029/2009GC002779, (2009).

Böning P, Bard E. Millennial/centennial-scale thermocline ventilation changes in the Indian Ocean as reflected by aragonite preservation and geochemical variations in Arabian Sea sediments. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 73, 6771-6788, (2009).

Bard E, Rickaby R. Migration of the Subtropical Front as a modulator of glacial climate. Nature 406, 380-383 + 10 p. suppl., (2009).

Leduc G, Vidal L, Tachikawa K, Bard E. ITCZ rather than ENSO signature for abrupt climatic changes across the tropical Pacific? Quaternary Research 72, 123-131, (2009).

Tachikawa K, Vidal C, Sonzogni C, Bard E. Glacial/interglacial sea surface temperature changes in the Southwest Pacific Ocean over the past 360 Kyears. Quaternary Science Reviews 28, 1160-1170, (2009).


Tachikawa K, Sépulcre S, Toyofuku T, Bard E. Assessing influence of diagenetic carbonate dissolution on planktonic foraminiferal Mg/Ca in the South-eastern Arabian Sea over the past 450 k years: Comparison between Globigerinoides ruber and Globigerinoides sacculifer. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems (G-cubed) 9 (4), Q04037, 1-16, DOI :10.1029/2007GC001904, (2008).


Blanchet CL, Thouveny N, Vidal L, Leduc G, Tachikawa K, Bard E, Beaufort L. Terrigenous input response to glacial/interglacial climatic over southern Baja California: a rock magnetic approach. Quaternary Science Reviews 26, 3118-3133, (2007).

Leduc G, Vidal L, Tachikawa K, Rostek F, Sonzogni C, Beaufort L, Bard E. Moisture transport across Central America as a positive feedback on abrupt climatic changes. Nature 445, 908-911 + 25 p. suppl. (2007).

Böning P, Bard E, Rose E. Towards direct micron-scale XRF elemental maps and quantitative profiles of wet marine sediments. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems (G-cubed) 8 (5), 1-14, DOI: 10.1029/2006GC001480, (2007).


Barker S, Cacho I, Benway H & Tachikawa K. Planktonic foraminiferal Mg/Ca as a proxy for past oceanic temperatures: a methodological overview and data compilation for the Last Glacial Maximum. Quat. Sci. Rev. 24, 821-834, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2004.07.016 (2005).

Silenzi S, Bard E, Montagna P, Antonioli F. Isotopic and elemental records in a non-tropical coral (Cladocora caespitosa): Discovery of a new high-resolution climate archive for the Mediterranean Sea. Global and Planetary Change 49, 94-120, (2005).


Rosenthal Y, Perron-Cashman S, Lear CH, Bard E, Barker S, Billups K, Bryan M, Delaney ML, deMenocal PB, Dwyer GS, Elderfield H, German CR, Greaves M, Lea DW, Marchitto Jr. TM, Pak DK, Ravelo AC, Paradis GL, Russell AD, Schneider R, Scheindrich K, Stott L, Tachikawa K, Tappa E, Thunell R, Wara M, Weldeab S, Wilson P. Inter-laboratory comparison study of Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca measurements in planktonic foraminifera for paleoceanographic research. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems (G-cubed) 5 (4), 1-29, DOI:10.1029/2003GC000650, (2004).


Pailler D, Bard E, Rostek F, Zheng Y, Mortlock R, Van Geen A. Burial of redox-sensitive metals and organic matter in the equatorial Indian Ocean linked to precession. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 66, 849-865, (2002).


Cardinal D, Hamelin B, Bard E, Pätzold J. Sr/Ca, U/Ca and ∂18O records in massive corals from Bermuda: Relationships with sea surface temperatures. Chemical Geology 176, 215-235, (2001).