New revelations on boundary scavenging in the North Pacific

Thorium (Th) and protactinium (Pa) are very efficient tracers of particle dynamics in the ocean. More particularly, their relative distributions inform on the intensity of “scavenging”, in other words, the processes that remove dissolved elements from seawater by their precipitation or adsorption on particles. Thanks to 12 new profiles in the North Pacific, Hayes and co-authors observe a much larger relative difference in scavenging intensity between the Subtropical gyre and Subarctic Pacific gyre than within each of these regions. This effect is greater for Pa than for Th, likely reflecting the fact that biogenic silica, a phase produced by diatoms which has a strong affinity for Pa, is much more prevalent in the North. While highlighting the role of biogeography, the study also finds that in the deep ocean, manganese oxides, an inorganic phase, may play an additional role in Pa scavenging.

13 Hayes l

Figure: Simplified figure showing scavenging intensity in the Pacific Ocean.
Please click here to view the figure larger.

 

Reference:

Hayes, C. T., Anderson, R. F., Jaccard, S. L., François, R., Fleisher, M. Q., Soon, M., & Gersonde, R. (2013). A new perspective on boundary scavenging in the North Pacific Ocean. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 369-370, 86–97. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2013.03.008. Click here to access the paper.

Latest highlights

Science Highlights

Dissolved iron and manganese fates reveal processes along the hydrothermal TAG plume

González-Santana and co-workers performed high-spatial resolution analyses of dissolved iron and manganese samples collected at the Mid Atlantic Ridge

20.10.2020

Science Highlights

The power of combining geochemical tracer data with direct current measurements

Learn about new discoveries done combining seawater Rare Earth Elements concentrations and direct physical oceanographic observations

14.10.2020

Science Highlights

Loss of old Arctic sea ice increases methylmercury concentrations

Researchers from the SCRIPPS, the Stockholm Natural Museum and the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography show the importance of sea ice composition on methylmercury budgets

02.09.2020

Science Highlights

Estimating Atmospheric Trace Element Deposition Over the Global Ocean

A recently developed method based on the natural radionuclide beryllium-7 has provided a means to estimate the bulk atmospheric trace element deposition velocity

Rechercher