Apparent removal of the transient tracer carbon tetrachloride from anoxic seawater


  • Mikael Krysell,

  • Elisabet Fogelqvist,

  • Toste Tanhua


Two chlorofluorocarbons (CFC-11 and carbon tetrachloride, CCl4) widely used as tracers for dating water masses, were measured in the Gotland Basin of the Baltic Sea. At the time of the survey, the bottom water of the basin had remained stagnant for 15 years and anoxic for about the same period of time, and the concentrations of both CFC-11 and CCl4 decrease dramatically with depth below the mixed layer. Furthermore, the ratio of CFC-11 to CCl4 increases with depth under the mixed layer along with a steep decrease in oxygen concentration. This is contrary to what would be expected from the atmospheric histories. The most plausible explanation for this is that there is a mechanism whereby the CCl4 is removed from the water mass under anoxic and suboxic conditions.