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Clay mineral distribution in surface sediments from the Greenland Sea

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Citation:
Matthießen, J. and Vogt, C. (2003): Clay mineral distribution in surface sediments from the Greenland Sea , 33rd Annual Arctic Workshop, 3-5. April, Tromsø, Norge, Norsk Polarinstitutt Internrapport .
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Abstract:

Clay minerals may be sensitive indicators for transport processes and pathways of terrigenous sediments. The fine fraction of sediments may easily be transported by e.g. bottom currents and /or sea-ice (e.g. Pfirman et al., 1997; Wahsner et al., 1999). Despite this potential for paleoenvironmental studies, relatively little is known about the distribution of clay minerals in surface sediments from the Nordic Seas. In this study, we analysed the distribution of clay minerals in surface sediments from East Greenland fjords, the continental shelf and slope and the adjacent deep-sea between 70° and 75° N. Four clay minerals were identified using the standard method outlined by Wahsner et al. (1999). Illite and chlorite are the dominant clay minerals in most sediments and show a relatively even distribution. Kaolinite and smectite contents are more variable and they are obviously related to specific source areas. The clay mineral associations are relatively uniform in most samples from the shelf, slope and deep-sea basin, while fjords sediment show a stronger variability. Some fjords have a specific clay mineral association that is clearly related to the sediments and rocks of the adjacent coastal areas. The clay minerals are further dispersed from these point sources in the fjords resulting in a relatively even distribution in the deep sea.

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