Astonishing protactinium and thorium profiles in the Mediterranean Sea

In the framework of the GEOTRACES cruise along the GA04 section in the Meditterranean Sea, Gdaniec et al. (2018, see reference below) measured thorium (Th) and protactinium (Pa) isotope distributions on 8 profiles across the Mediterranean Sea. Contrasting with what is observed in the open ocean:

  • Depth profiles of these tracers are non linear, indicating that these profiles are overprinted by deep water circulation. These bended shapes allow identifying convection processes in the NW basin and occurrence of depleted Aegean and enriched Adriatic waters.
  • 99% of the 230Th and 94% of the (although more soluble) 231Pa in situ produced are scavenged and deposited within the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The fractionation factors between Th and Pa (FTh/Pa) are low, reflecting the important removal of the 231Pa compare to the open ocean.
  • The 232Th distribution mainly reflects the input of lithogenic material from rivers and/or sediment resuspension.

18 Gdniec
Figure:
 Map of (a) Pa-Th sampling sites and and section plots of (b) 231Pa, (c) 230Th, and (d) 232Th measured in unfiltered seawater sampled along the GEOTRACES GA04 section in the Mediterranean Sea. SABB: Southern Algero-Balearic Basin, CABB: Central Algero-Balearic Basin and NABB: Northern Algero-Balearic Basin.

Reference:

Gdaniec, S., Roy-Barman, M., Foliot, L., Thil, F., Dapoigny, A., Burckel, P., Garcia-Orellana, J., Masqué, P., Mörth, C-M., Andersson, P. S. (2018). Thorium and protactinium isotopes as tracers of marine particle fluxes and deep water circulation in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Chemistry, 199, 12–23. http://doi.org/10.1016/J.MARCHEM.2017.12.002

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