Radionuclides of sediment cores and a sediment trap in the Weddell Sea, supplement to: Walter, Hans-Jürgen; Rutgers van der Loeff, Michiel M; Hoeltzen, H; Bathmann, Ulrich (2000): Reduced scavenging of 230Th in the Weddell Sea: implications for paleoceanographic reconstructions in the South Atlantic. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 47(7), 1369-1387


The scavenging of 230Th and 231Pa was investigated in the central Weddell Sea by combining results from a sediment trap and three sediment cores. Scavenging of both radionuclides is closely coupled with the annual cycle of particle fluxes. For 230Th the mean radionuclide flux measured in the trap is only 40% of its expected flux from production in the water column. This value is in excellent agreement with the long-term record in the sediment cores (33-43%). Similar results were obtained for 231Pa, although burial fluxes are generally higher. The data suggest that during the last 130 ka the Weddell Sea has been a net source for both radionuclides, with more than half of the 230Th and about half of the 231Pa being exported. As a consequence, 230Th normalized rain rates (assuming a constant flux equal to the production rate) overestimate the true rain rate in the Weddell Sea by 150%. The laterally transported 230Th and 231Pa activity exits the Weddell Sea to the north, where it is incorporated into the eastward flowing Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). There it is scavenged in addition to local production. During its residence time in the S-Atlantic sector of the ACC about 3/4 of the dissolved 230Th imported from the Weddell Sea is transferred onto particles. Whether this particulate 230Th is entirely deposited in the S-Atlantic or is distributed over a larger area extending into the Indian and Pacific sectors of the ACC remains an open question. In the ACC, Th-normalization therefore leads to an underestimation of fluxes, but the effect is probably less than 50%. Interglacial-glacial shifts in the position of the productive belt are believed to cause temporal and regional variations in the depositon rate for 230Th.

Metadata Access
Creator Rutgers van der Loeff, Michiel M;Bathmann, Ulrich;Hoeltzen, H;Walter, Hans-Jürgen
Publisher PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
Publication Year 2000
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC-BY)
Language English
Resource Type Supplementary Collection of Datasets
Format application/zip
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (69S-65S,42W-24W)
Temporal Point 1987-03-04T11:59:59Z