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Interaction of sinking behaviour of Saharan dust and lithogenic and biogenic fluxes in the Canary Basin
Maite Báez-Hernández, Noemí García, Inmaculada Menéndez, Alfredo Jaramillo, Isora Sánchez-Pérez, Ángelo Santana, Ignacio Alonso, José Mangas, Santiago Hernández-León

Saharan dust events are currently the predominant source of lithogenic particles in the Canary Basin. In order to quantify this input and its relationship with the biogenic fluxes, a sediment trap was deployed in a free-drifting system at 150 m depth, 50 km off the north coast of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands). The mineralogy of the lithogenic particles included illite, calcite, hematite quartz, barite and kaolinite. The biogenic matter was composed of chitin, transparent exopolymer particles, and carbonates from foraminifera and gastropod shells. The average Saharan dust flux over the ocean surface was approximately 5±4 mg m–2 day–1. The lithogenic, carbonate and chitin fluxes were 0.8±0.6, 6.0±7.4 and 154±386 mg m–2 day-1, respectively. A fairly strong Saharan dust event during sampling was observed in the trap, with a delay of three days in the peaks of lithogenic and biogenic fluxes. The theoretical settling velocity of the lithogenic particles associated with Saharan dust events at 150 m depth was vStokes=275 m day–1, and the experimental settling was about 50 m day–1. The associated sinking behaviour of particulate organic carbon and biogenic and lithogenic fluxes observed in this study may contribute to a more realistic prediction of these fluxes in carbon biological pump models.

Keywords: lithogenic flux; biogenic flux; POC flux; TEP; image analysis; Saharan dust; Canary Basin
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 83(2) : 121-132 Back PDF
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