Widespread dispersal and aging of organic carbon in shallow marginal seas

Bao, R., Mcintyre, C. , Zhao, M., Zhu, C., Kao, S.-J. and Eglinton, T. I. (2016) Widespread dispersal and aging of organic carbon in shallow marginal seas. Geology, 44(10), pp. 791-794. (doi: 10.1130/G37948.1)

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The occurrence of pre-aged organic carbon (OC) in continental margin surface sediments is a commonly observed phenomenon, yet the nature, sources, and causes of this aged OC remain largely undetermined for many continental shelf settings. Here we present the results of an extensive survey of the abundance and radiocarbon content of OC in surface sediments from the northern Chinese marginal seas. Pre-aged OC is associated with both coarser (>63 µm) and finer (<63 µm) sedimentary components; measurements on specific grain-size fractions reveal that it is especially prevalent within the 20–63 µm fraction of inner shelf sediments. We suggest that organic matter associated with this sortable silt fraction is subject to protracted entrainment in resuspension-deposition loops during which it ages, is modified, and is laterally dispersed, most likely via entrainment within benthic nepheloid layers. This finding highlights the complex dynamics and predepositional history of organic matter accumulating in continental shelf sediments, with implications for our understanding of carbon cycling on continental shelves, development of regional carbon budgets, and interpretation of sedimentary records.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mcintyre, Dr Cameron
Authors: Bao, R., Mcintyre, C., Zhao, M., Zhu, C., Kao, S.-J., and Eglinton, T. I.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Geology
Publisher:Geological Society of America
ISSN (Online):1943-2682
Published Online:17 August 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Geological Society of America
First Published:First published in Geology 44(10):791-794
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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