Global boron cycle in the Anthropocene

William H. Schlesinger, Avner Vengosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This paper presents a revised and updated synthesis of the biogeochemical cycle of boron at the Earth's surface, where the largest fluxes are associated with the injection of sea-salt aerosols to the atmosphere (1.44 Tg B/yr), production and combustion of fossil fuels (1.2 Tg B/yr), atmospheric deposition (3.48 Tg B/yr), the mining of B ores (1.1 Tg B/yr), and the transport of dissolved and suspended matter in rivers (0.80 Tg B/yr). The new estimates show that anthropogenic mobilization of B from the continental crust exceeds the naturally occurring processes, resulting in substantial fluxes to the ocean and the hydrosphere. The anthropogenic component contributes 81% of the flux in rivers. The mean residence time for B in seawater supports the use of δ11B in marine carbonates as an index of changes in the pH of seawater over time periods of > 1 Ma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-230
Number of pages12
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • biogeochemistry
  • boron
  • global cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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