Diapycnal nutrient fluxes across the benthic boundary layers at the continental slopes off Peru and Mauritania based on 224Ra/223Ra-ratios

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Patrick Reichert1, Jan C Scholten1, Anton Eisenhauer2, Juan Carlos Miquel3, Beat Gasser3, Volker Liebetrau2, Stefan Sommer2, Marcus Dengler2 and Lee D. Bryant2, (1)Institute of Geosciences,, Kiel, Germany, (2)GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany, (3)IAEA, Monaco, Monaco
Marine sediments may act as sources and/or sinks of nutrients in oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) where solute fluxes between sediments and the above water column are believed to be an important component for the bioproductivity in the mixed layer. However, solute fluxes between sediments and the water column above are difficult to obtain. We determined the diapycnal nutrient fluxes across the benthic boundary layer at the OMZs off Peru and Mauritania using nutrient concentration profiles and vertical diffusion coefficients derived from 224Ra/223Ra isotope ratios.

The radium isotopes 223Ra (half-life: 11.4 days) and 224Ra (half-life: 3.66 days) are produced in sediments by radioactive decay of 227Th and 228Th ,respectively: Diffusion of radium out of the sediments results in gradients of 224Ra/223Ra above the sediments; and these gradients may be used to estimate vertical diffusion coefficients. We determined 224Ra/223Ra along two transects at the continental slopes off Peru (12° S) and off Mauritania (18° N) in water depths between 65m – 1000mand 53m – 1100m, respectively. For the 223Ra/224Ra sampling we used acrylic fibers/cartridges coated with MnO2. The Mn-fibers were attached to benthic landers (moored for ~ 24 hours at the sea floor) and the Mn-cartridges were placed in series on several in-situ filtration pumps (Challenger Oceanic and McLane pumps). 223Ra and 224Ra were measured on-board using a delayed coincidence counting system (RaDeCC).

In our presentation we will present the 224Ra/223Ra distribution along these transects investigated and we will compare the diapycnal radium-derived nutrient fluxes with those determined using benthic chambers and microstructure measurements.