PUMA
Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Tesi T., Puig P., Palanques A., Goni M. Lateral advection of organic matter in cascading-dominated submarine canyons. In: Progress in Oceanography, vol. 84 (3-4) pp. 185 - 203. Elsevier, 2010.
 
 
Abstract
(English)
In the Gulf of Lions (GoL), dense water overflowing off the shelf occurs seasonally and represents the main mechanism affecting the shelf-slope exchange of particulate organic matter (OM). Most of the dense water export takes place in the south-western GoL and in particular through Cap de Creus (CdC) submarine canyon. Here, benthic instruments were deployed to collect down-canyon particulate fluxes whereas surface sediments were taken after the cascading event along the sediment dispersal system on the shelf, in CdC canyon and in the nearby Lacaze-Duthiers (LD) canyon. The chemical composition of the suspended material and surface sediments were investigated using several proxies including organic and inorganic carbon, total nitrogen, biogenic silica, δ13C, Δ14C, and alkaline CuO oxidation products. Thermohaline anomalies and high current speed events were measured in CdC canyon since December 2004 until mid-April 2005 indicating a marked off-shelf export of dense water trough the canyon. During the cascading, mud and relatively coarse shelf and upper canyon sediments were the major component of the mass flux. Conversely, advection of fine material via nepheloid layers dominated down-slope fluxes during pre- and post-cascading. The resulting change in grain-size affected the flux of mineral-bound terrigenous OC, indicating that the down-canyon transport of land-derived OM did not occur as bulk but rather its composition is driven by sediment sorting associated with different transport mechanisms. Both surface sediments and sediment trap samples indicated that CdC canyon is well connected to the GoL terrigenous dispersal system. Conversely, our results suggest an overall limited influence of land-derived OM in LD canyon. In spite of the reduced fluvial nutrient supply, a significant pulsed input of modern marine OM was observed in April 2005 at the end of the cascading period. Both intense mixing and lack of strong water column stratification likely played a key role allowing for both diffusion of nutrients-rich waters into the euphotic zone and efficient vertical sink of marine OC. On its way toward the seafloor, this fresh pool of OC interacted with the dense plume overflowing off the shelf, becoming part of the material laterally advected to the slope.
DOI: 10.1016/j.pocean.2009.10.004
Subject submarine canyons
organic matter
Gulf of Lions


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