227Ac in the Deep South Pacific along the Peru-Tahiti GEOTRACES Transect
Abstract:227Ac (22 yr half life) diffuses from sediment and is mixed vertically and horizontally as it decays, providing a distribution that can be used to infer transport rates for other solutes in the deep ocean. Profiles were collected during the fall of 2013 at 19 stations along the US Peru-Tahiti GEOTRACES transect by pumping water through acrylic cartridges impregnated with MnO2, to trap both Ac and Ra. Because extraction efficiency has been found to vary in past efforts, two cartridges were deployed in series to allow estimation of extraction efficiency for each sample.
While analytical work is still in progress, an analysis of preliminary results indicates several features of interest: 1. Cartridge extraction efficiency (based on 25 replicates) for Ac was approximately 0.7±0.1, quite good given the high pump rate through the fibers (~6.5 L/min). 2. Profiles showed an increase toward the bottom from activities of ~0.3 dpm/m3 at 2000 m (close to expected 231Pa parent activity) to >0.9 dpm/m3 near the bottom. 3. Some isolated maxima appear near 2500 m, west of the East Pacific Rise, which may represent modest input of Ac from hydrothermal sources. In addition to dissolved Ac, there is particulate Ac associated with the Fe rich neutrally buoyant plume particles.
Estimation of transport rates will be done once the analyses are completed.