Magnetic Properties of the Rivers Feeding the South China Sea: a Critical Step for Understanding the Paleo-Marine Records.
Abstract:In order to use the magnetic properties of marine sediments as a tracer for past changes in the precipitation rate on land and in oceanic water masses transport and exchanges in the South China Sea, we identify and characterize the different sources of the detrital fraction among which the magnetic particles. This work is presently conducted in the framework of the Franco-Chinese LIA-MONOCL
Thanks to the Westpac project, we had access to sediments collected in the deltas of the main rivers feeding the South China Sea from about 25°N to the equator. This is represented on the Asian continent by the Pearl river, the Red River, the Mekong river, by Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo regions with minor rivers but also contributing to the South China Sea, and finally by Luzon and Taiwan. The geological formations contributing to the river sediment discharges are different from one catchment basin to another as well as the present climatic conditions.
The magnetic analyses consist in the analysis of low-field magnetic susceptibility, ARM acquisition and decay, IRM acquisition and decay, back-field acquisition, thermal demagnetization of 3-axes IRM, hysteresis parameters, and FORC diagrams. The obtained parameters all together allow us to define the nature of the magnetic grains and their grain size distribution when magnetite is dominant. Some degree of variability is observed at the river mouths, illustrating different geological sources at the local/regional scale. As an average, it appears that the Southern basin of the South China Sea is surrounded by regions richer in high coercivity magnetic minerals than the northern basin. This mineral is identified as hematite while magnetites (and sulfides) are more abundant in the north. These results are complementary to the clay mineral assemblages previously determined on the same samples.
The first steps of a similar study conducted on marine core-tops well distributed in the South China Sea will also be illustrated.