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La/Yb and Th/Sc in settling particles: Vertical and horizontal transport of lithogenic material in the western North Pacific

Shigeyoshi Otosaka, Makio C. Honda, Shinichiro Noriki
Geochemical Journal, Vol. 38, No. 6, P. 515-525, 2004

ABSTRACT

In order to understand the origins and transport processes of lithogenic aluminosilicate in the western North Pacific, time-series sediment traps were deployed at Stn. KNOT at 44°N 155°E (water depth: 5320 m). Annual mean content of aluminum (Al) which is a proxy of lithogenic material in settling particles was 0.38% at 1 km depth, 0.78% at 3 km depth and 1.14% at 5 km depth, respectively. Mass fluxes were corrected by 230Th and 231Pa activities in particles and seawater. Annual mean corrected Al fluxes at 1, 3 and 5 km depths were calculated to 0.45, 0.46 and 0.33 g/m2/year, respectively. Lanthanum/ytterbium (La/Yb) and thorium/scandium (Th/Sc) ratios were used as proxies for estimating the origin of lithogenic aluminosilicate in settling particles. Both La/Yb and Th/Sc ratios in settling particles increased with depth, and the seasonal variation was the smallest at 5 km depth. It was considered that variations of La/Yb and Th/Sc ratios in settling particles reflected the change of source material of lithogenic aluminosilicates. Origins of lithogenic materials in the settling particles were summarized using two end-members, loess from central Asian continent (AL) and basalts from the Kurile-Kamchatka Islands (KK). Contributions of end-members in settling particles were estimated from the La/Yb and Th/Sc ratios. The contribution of KK particles in lithogenic materials was calculated to be 84% at 1 km depth, and 61% at 3 and 5 km depths, respectively. Although the KK material was the dominant constituent of the terrigenous component in settling particles at Stn. KNOT, the KK flux decreased with depth. On the other hand, the AL flux increased with depth and the significant increase of the AL flux was presumably due to the lateral import of AL particles to the deep layer at Stn. KNOT. From these results we conclude that the distribution of lithogenic materials recorded in sediments in the western North Pacific are influenced by the northward transport of AL within the deep layer.

KEYWORDS

settling particle, rare earth element, Th/Sc ratio, western North Pacific, horizontal transport

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