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Efficient preservation of young terrestrial organic carbon in sandy turbidity-current deposits

Efficient preservation of young terrestrial organic carbon in sandy turbidity-current deposits
Efficient preservation of young terrestrial organic carbon in sandy turbidity-current deposits
Burial of terrestrial biospheric particulate organic carbon in marine sediments removes CO2 from the atmosphere, regulating climate over geologic time scales. Rivers deliver terrestrial organic carbon to the sea, while turbidity currents transport river sediment further offshore. Previous studies have suggested that most organic carbon resides in muddy marine sediment. However, turbidity currents can carry a significant component of coarser sediment, which is commonly assumed to be organic carbon poor. Here, using data from a Canadian fjord, we show that young woody debris can be rapidly buried in sandy layers of turbidity current deposits (turbidites). These layers have organic carbon contents 10× higher than the overlying mud layer, and overall, woody debris makes up >70% of the organic carbon preserved in the deposits. Burial of woody debris in sands overlain by mud caps reduces their exposure to oxygen, increasing organic carbon burial efficiency. Sandy turbidity current channels are common in fjords and the deep sea; hence we suggest that previous global organic carbon burial budgets may have been underestimated.
0091-7613
882-887
Hage, S.
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Galy, V.v.
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Cartigny, M.j.b.
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Acikalin, S.
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Clare, M.a.
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Gröcke, D.r.
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Hilton, R.g.
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Hunt, J.e.
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Lintern, D.g.
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Mcghee, C.a.
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Parsons, D.r.
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Stacey, C.d.
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Sumner, E.j.
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Talling, P.j.
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Hage, S.
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Galy, V.v.
e3d22144-7424-4277-9a4b-2c245494269c
Cartigny, M.j.b.
d252d7b1-16c6-47b1-bf86-8087070934ce
Acikalin, S.
facb2a3c-1688-4196-8250-1603118d430e
Clare, M.a.
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Gröcke, D.r.
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Hilton, R.g.
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Hunt, J.e.
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Lintern, D.g.
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Mcghee, C.a.
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Parsons, D.r.
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Stacey, C.d.
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Sumner, E.j.
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Talling, P.j.
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Hage, S., Galy, V.v., Cartigny, M.j.b., Acikalin, S., Clare, M.a., Gröcke, D.r., Hilton, R.g., Hunt, J.e., Lintern, D.g., Mcghee, C.a., Parsons, D.r., Stacey, C.d., Sumner, E.j. and Talling, P.j. (2020) Efficient preservation of young terrestrial organic carbon in sandy turbidity-current deposits. Geology, 48 (9), 882-887. (doi:10.1130/G47320.1).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Burial of terrestrial biospheric particulate organic carbon in marine sediments removes CO2 from the atmosphere, regulating climate over geologic time scales. Rivers deliver terrestrial organic carbon to the sea, while turbidity currents transport river sediment further offshore. Previous studies have suggested that most organic carbon resides in muddy marine sediment. However, turbidity currents can carry a significant component of coarser sediment, which is commonly assumed to be organic carbon poor. Here, using data from a Canadian fjord, we show that young woody debris can be rapidly buried in sandy layers of turbidity current deposits (turbidites). These layers have organic carbon contents 10× higher than the overlying mud layer, and overall, woody debris makes up >70% of the organic carbon preserved in the deposits. Burial of woody debris in sands overlain by mud caps reduces their exposure to oxygen, increasing organic carbon burial efficiency. Sandy turbidity current channels are common in fjords and the deep sea; hence we suggest that previous global organic carbon burial budgets may have been underestimated.

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Accepted/In Press date: 13 April 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 May 2020
Published date: 1 September 2020

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Local EPrints ID: 444802
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444802
ISSN: 0091-7613
PURE UUID: 25dc6e3d-7564-4382-b250-4a477d3d5f45

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Date deposited: 05 Nov 2020 17:31
Last modified: 10 Nov 2020 17:30

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