Biogenic silica cycle in surface sediments of the Greenland Sea

mschlueter [ at ]


Abstract -In contrast to several investigations of biogenic silica (BSi) content and recycling in surface sediments of the Southern Ocean, little isknown about the benthic cycle of BSi in high northern latitudes. Therefore, we investigated the silicic acid concentration of pore waterand BSi content of surface sediments from the Greenland Sea. Low BSi contents of less than 2% were observed. High-resolution (2-5mm) BSi profiles and comparisons to trap studies suggest that only relatively dissolution-resistant siliceous components reach the seafloor.Pore water investigations reveal BSi fluxes of more than 300 mmol m-2 a-1 only for a few sites on the shelf. A statistically significantrelationship between water depth and BSi rain rate reaching the seafloor was not observed. Sampling along a transect perpendicular tothe marginal ice zone (MIZ) revealed no enhanced rain rate of BSi reaching the seafloor in the vicinity of the ice edge. Although the MIZof the Greenland Sea is characterized by the enhanced export of biogenic particles from surface waters, this feature is not reflected in thebenthic cycle of biogenic silica. The lack of such a relationship, which is in contrast to observations of shelf and continental marginsediments in the southern South Atlantic, is probably caused by the enhanced dissolution of BSi in the water column and highly dynamicice conditions in the Greenland Sea.Keywords: biogenic silica; Greenland Sea; North Atlantic; surface sediment

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Schlüter, M. and Sauter, E. (2000): Biogenic silica cycle in surface sediments of the Greenland Sea , Journal of Marine Systems, 23 , pp. 333-342 .

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