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Advective excess Ba transport as shown from sediment and trap geochemical signatures
Fagel, N.; André, L.; Dehairs, F.A. (1999). Advective excess Ba transport as shown from sediment and trap geochemical signatures. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 63(16): 2353-2367
In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Elsevier: Oxford,New York etc.. ISSN 0016-7037; e-ISSN 1872-9533, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    We report the results of a geochemical study of sediment and trap material. Major and trace elements (Zr, Ba, rare earth elements, and Th) were analyzed on bulk sedimentary material collected along the NE Atlantic margin. Our aim is to test the widespread use of Ba-barite as a proxy for paleoproductivity in a continental margin area. This environment is of great interest because atmospheric-oceanic exchanges are important. In sediments, the geochemical signatures remain close to an upper crust reference, with flat shale-normalized rare earth elements patterns and constant elementary ratios. The calculated biogenic fraction of Ba or excess Ba (20-45%) remains lower than the excess Ba record in trap material (80-99%). The evolution of the geochemical signature along the margin reflects variable dilution of a detrital Post Archean Australian Shale-like component by a biogenic carbonaceous seawater-derived component. The trap material displays a wide range of variation in its trace element content (e.g., Ba ~150-3000 ppm, Zr ~2-100 ppm), except for the abyssal site, which is characterized by constant signature. In the two other sites, all of the trace element contents increase with water depth and present pronounced seasonal changes at each sampled water depth. The amount of excess Ba also increases in the deepest traps, and its evolution throughout the year mimics the change of the other analyzed trace elements. In contrast, its relationships with particulate organic carbon are not obvious. In term of fluxes, two periods of enhanced excess Ba fluxes are observed: (1) excess Ba flux increases with the detrital-like elements like Th especially during winter, and (2) excess Ba flux is enhanced without any change for the other trace elements during spring. To explain the first case, a supply through lateral advection is proposed. Such transient input of significant excess Ba flux will have a great impact on the yearly averaged estimation of the export production. Indeed, only the second case reflects a bloom in the biological productivity of the water column and must be taken into account in a mean calculation of the export production. Finally, a normalization of the excess Ba by detrital-like element like Th will help to discriminate between a real increase of the excess Ba due to local productivity change (high excess Ba and high excess Ba/Th ratio ≥ 10,000) and any input due to advection process (high excess Ba but low excess Ba/Th ratio < 2000).

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