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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 CO 2 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 10x 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.
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Cartigny, M.j.b.
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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 CO 2 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 10x 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
Additional Information: Funding Information: We thank C. Johnson, M. Lardie, A. Gagnon, A. McNichol, and the NOSAMS (National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry) team (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution [WHOI], Massachusetts, USA) for their help with ramped oxidation system and isotopes. We thank the captain and crew of CCGS Vector. Support was provided by UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) grants NE/M007138/1 (to Cartigny) and NE/L013142/1 (to Talling), NE/ P005780/1 and NE/P009190/1 (to Clare); a Royal Society Research Fellowship (to Cartigny); an International Association of Sedimentologists Postgraduate Grant and National Oceanography Centre Southampton–WHOI exchange program funds (to Hage); an independent study award from WHOI (to Galy); the Climate Linked Atlantic Sector Science (CLASS) program (NERC grant NE/R015953/1); and the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (Grant 725955, to Parsons). We thank François Baudin, Xingqian Cui, editor James Schmitt, and three anonymous reviewers. Publisher Copyright: © 2020 Geological Society of America.

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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: 08 Nov 2022 18:23

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Contributors

Author: S. Hage
Author: V.v. Galy
Author: M.j.b. Cartigny
Author: S. Acikalin
Author: M.a. Clare
Author: D.r. Gröcke
Author: R.g. Hilton
Author: J.e. Hunt
Author: D.g. Lintern
Author: C.a. Mcghee
Author: D.r. Parsons
Author: C.d. Stacey
Author: E.j. Sumner
Author: P.j. Talling

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