The behavior of dissolved Hf in the marine environment is not well understood due to the lack of direct seawater measurements of Hf isotopes and the limited number of Hf isotope time-series obtained from ferromanganese crusts. In order to place better constraints on input sources and develop further applications, a combined Nd-Hf isotope time-series study of five Pacific ferromanganese crusts was carried out. The samples cover the past 38 Myr and their locations range from sites at the margin of the ocean to remote areas, sites from previously unstudied North and South Pacific areas, and water depths corresponding to deep and bottom waters.For most of the samples a broad coupling of Nd and Hf isotopes is observed. In the Equatorial Pacific epsilon(Nd) and epsilon(Hf), both decrease with water depth. Similarly, epsilon(Nd), and epsilon(Hf) both increase from the South to the North Pacific. These data indicate that the Hf isotopic composition is, in general terms, a suitable tracer for ocean circulation, since inflow and progressive admixture of bottom water is clearly identifiable.The time-series data indicate that inputs and outputs have been balanced throughout much of the late Cenozoic. A simple box model can constrain the relative importance of potential input sources to the North Pacific. Assuming steady state, the model implies significant contributions of radiogenic Nd and Hf from young circum-Pacific arcs and a subordinate role of dust inputs from the Asian continent for the dissolved Nd and Hf budget of the North Pacific.Some changes in ocean circulation that are clearly recognizable in Nd isotopes do not appear to be reflected by Hf isotopic compositions. At two locations within the Pacific Ocean a decoupling of Nd and Hf isotopes is found, indicating limited potential for Hf isotopes as a stand-alone oceanographic tracer and providing evidence of additional local processes that govern the Hf isotopic composition of deep water masses. In the case of the Southwest Pacific there is evidence that decoupling may have been the result of changes in weathering style related to the buildup of Antarctic glaciation. Copyright (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd.
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