Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2015. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Marine Chemistry 170 (2015): 49-60, doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2015.01.006.
The natural radionuclides 231Pa and 230Th are incorporated into the marine sediment record by
scavenging, or adsorption to various particle types, via chemical reactions that are not fully
understood. Because these isotopes have potential value in tracing several oceanographic
processes, we investigate the nature of scavenging using trans-Atlantic measurements of
dissolved (〈0.45 μm) and particulate (0.8-51 μm) 231Pa and 230Th, together with major particle
composition. We find widespread impact of intense scavenging by authigenic Fe/Mn
(hydr)oxides, in the form of hydrothermal particles emanating from the Mid-Atlantic ridge and
particles resuspended from reducing conditions near the seafloor off the coast of West Africa.
Biogenic opal was not found to be a significant scavenging phase for either element in this
sample set, essentially because of its low abundance and small dynamic range at the studied
sites. Distribution coefficients in shallow (〈 200 m) depths are anomalously low which suggests
either the unexpected result of a low scavenging intensity for organic matter or that, in water
masses containing abundant organic-rich particles, a greater percentage of radionuclides exist in
the colloidal or complexed phase. In addition to particle concentration, the oceanic distribution
of particle types likely plays a significant role in the ultimate distribution of sedimentary 230Th
Cruise management for GA03 was funded by the U. S. National Science Foundation to W.
Jenkins (OCE-0926423), E. Boyle (OCE-0926204), and G. Cutter (OCE-0926092). Radionuclide
studies were supported by NSF (OCE-0927064 to LDEO, OCE-0926860 to WHOI, OCE-
0927757 to URI, and OCE-0927754 to UMN). Additional support came from the European
Research Council (278705) to LFR and the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship to SMV.
Particle studies were supported by NSF OCE-0963026 to PJL.
Suspended particulate matter
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