• Open Access

210Pb and 137Cs in margin sediments of the Arctic Ocean: Controls on boundary scavenging

Authors

  • Zou Zou A. Kuzyk,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut National de la Recherche scientifique – Eau Terre Environnement (INRS–EAU), Université du Québec, Québec, Québec, Canada
    2. Centre for Earth Observation Science and Department of Geological Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    • Corresponding author: Z. A. Kuzyk, Centre for Earth Observation Science and Department of Geological Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada. (ZouZou.Kuzyk@ad.umanitoba.ca)

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  • Charles Gobeil,

    1. Institut National de la Recherche scientifique – Eau Terre Environnement (INRS–EAU), Université du Québec, Québec, Québec, Canada
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  • Robie W. Macdonald

    1. Institute of Ocean Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Sidney, British Columbia, Canada
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Abstract

[1] 210Pb and 137Cs were measured in 25 sediment cores collected during the International Polar Year from a transect spanning the North American Arctic margin, from the North Bering Sea to Baffin Bay/Davis Strait. Profiles and inventories of the radioisotopes were used to determine sediment mixing and accumulation at each site and to assess the intensity of scavenging and burial. Sediment accumulation rates derived from 210Pb and validated using 137Cs are between ≤0.04 and 0.23 g cm−2 yr−1. 210Pb cannot be used to derive sedimentation rates for vigorously biomixed sediments from the North Bering-Chukchi shelf. Elevated 137Cs activities and inventories in recently deposited sediments imply delayed inputs of particle-associated 137Cs to the sediments, likely transported from the watershed to the coast and subsequently redistributed to shelf/slope sediments. Inventories of 210Pbex in all cores meet or exceed the estimated supply of 210Pbex from atmospheric deposition and decay of 226Ra in the water column. This implies that in contrast to the deep Arctic Ocean basin, there is a sufficient supply of suspended particulates along the North American Arctic margin to scavenge the supply of 210Pbex. 210Pbex inventories in sediments are up to 21-fold greater than the in situ supply at some sites. Large inventories of 210Pbex in sediments along the North Bering-Chukchi shelf result primarily from focusing, while those along the north Chukchi slope (Barrow Canyon) and in Baffin Bay/Davis Strait reflect strong boundary scavenging, likely supported by lateral exchanges with deep/interior Atlantic-origin waters.

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