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Turbidity currents can dictate organic carbon fluxes across river-fed fjords: example from Bute Inlet (BC, Canada)

Turbidity currents can dictate organic carbon fluxes across river-fed fjords: example from Bute Inlet (BC, Canada)
Turbidity currents can dictate organic carbon fluxes across river-fed fjords: example from Bute Inlet (BC, Canada)
The delivery and burial of terrestrial particulate organic carbon (OC) in marine sediments is important to quantify, because this OC is a food resource for benthic communities, and if buried it may lower the concentrations of atmospheric CO2 over geologic timescales. Analysis of sediment cores has previously shown that fjords are hotspots for OC burial. Fjords can contain complex networks of submarine channels formed by seafloor sediment flows, called turbidity currents. However, the burial efficiency and distribution of OC by turbidity currents in river-fed fjords had not been investigated previously. Here, we determine OC distribution and burial efficiency across a turbidity current system within Bute Inlet, a fjord in western Canada. We show that 62% ± 10% of the OC supplied by the two river sources is buried across the fjord surficial (30–200 cm) sediment. The sandy subenvironments (channel and lobe) contain 63% ± 14% of the annual terrestrial OC burial in the fjord. In contrast, the muddy subenvironments (overbank and distal basin) contain the remaining 37% ± 14%. OC in the channel, lobe, and overbank exclusively comprises terrestrial OC sourced from rivers. When normalized by the fjord’s surface area, at least 3 times more terrestrial OC is buried in Bute Inlet, compared to the muddy parts of other fjords previously studied. Although the long-term (>100 years) preservation of this OC is still to be fully understood, turbidity currents in fjords appear to be efficient at storing OC supplied by rivers in their near-surface deposits.
carbon burial, fjords, organic carbon, rivers, sediment, submarine channel
2169-8953
Hage, Sophie
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Galy, Valier
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Cartigny, M.J.B.
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Heerema, C
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Heijnen, Maarten
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Acikalin, Sanem
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Clare, Michael
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Giesbrecht, I
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Hendry, A
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Hilton, R.G.
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Hubbard, Stephen
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Hunt, J.
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Lintern, Gwyn
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Mcghee, C.A.
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Parsons, D.R.
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Pope, Ed
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Stacey, Cooper
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Sumner, Esther
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Tank, S
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Talling, Peter J
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Hage, Sophie
a914d294-89b9-4686-94f3-e3d7b0c41d76
Galy, Valier
bfcbee71-837c-41f5-aea4-5ea3ae6626e8
Cartigny, M.J.B.
d252d7b1-16c6-47b1-bf86-8087070934ce
Heerema, C
abacc82a-eb80-4bcb-b8d5-9c794c38410f
Heijnen, Maarten
65fbb0a5-0ee5-4a76-a436-c11f4e2023ae
Acikalin, Sanem
c5f9c767-b9d1-4aa6-b678-1296f8a65570
Clare, Michael
b26da858-9c08-4784-aaa9-7092efcd94bd
Giesbrecht, I
06e43114-df03-44a9-9411-5528b743c470
Hendry, A
a4358ce3-e26f-4d28-862d-72bd2ebaaeab
Hilton, R.G.
72b04174-a49d-45a1-ac6c-96c9862add2b
Hubbard, Stephen
e2d681b2-b4cc-4561-842f-5ef01797740f
Hunt, J.
3a1d4444-e143-44b6-95ed-f04ca2420f70
Lintern, Gwyn
b5270537-984f-4ec0-a128-025b36ecb411
Mcghee, C.A.
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Parsons, D.R.
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Pope, Ed
524ece70-a696-49cd-96e4-7b58661ba3ed
Stacey, Cooper
36936140-b618-47d1-9d32-76060722ab05
Sumner, Esther
dbba4b92-89cc-45d9-888e-d0e87e5c10ac
Tank, S
27221446-2b23-48ab-bd07-7b1c34892e06
Talling, Peter J
1cbac5ec-a9f8-4868-94fe-6203f30b47cf

Hage, Sophie, Galy, Valier, Cartigny, M.J.B., Heerema, C, Heijnen, Maarten, Acikalin, Sanem, Clare, Michael, Giesbrecht, I, Hendry, A, Hilton, R.G., Hubbard, Stephen, Hunt, J., Lintern, Gwyn, Mcghee, C.A., Parsons, D.R., Pope, Ed, Stacey, Cooper, Sumner, Esther, Tank, S and Talling, Peter J (2022) Turbidity currents can dictate organic carbon fluxes across river-fed fjords: example from Bute Inlet (BC, Canada). Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 127 (6), [e2022JG006824]. (doi:10.1029/2022JG006824).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The delivery and burial of terrestrial particulate organic carbon (OC) in marine sediments is important to quantify, because this OC is a food resource for benthic communities, and if buried it may lower the concentrations of atmospheric CO2 over geologic timescales. Analysis of sediment cores has previously shown that fjords are hotspots for OC burial. Fjords can contain complex networks of submarine channels formed by seafloor sediment flows, called turbidity currents. However, the burial efficiency and distribution of OC by turbidity currents in river-fed fjords had not been investigated previously. Here, we determine OC distribution and burial efficiency across a turbidity current system within Bute Inlet, a fjord in western Canada. We show that 62% ± 10% of the OC supplied by the two river sources is buried across the fjord surficial (30–200 cm) sediment. The sandy subenvironments (channel and lobe) contain 63% ± 14% of the annual terrestrial OC burial in the fjord. In contrast, the muddy subenvironments (overbank and distal basin) contain the remaining 37% ± 14%. OC in the channel, lobe, and overbank exclusively comprises terrestrial OC sourced from rivers. When normalized by the fjord’s surface area, at least 3 times more terrestrial OC is buried in Bute Inlet, compared to the muddy parts of other fjords previously studied. Although the long-term (>100 years) preservation of this OC is still to be fully understood, turbidity currents in fjords appear to be efficient at storing OC supplied by rivers in their near-surface deposits.

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Accepted/In Press date: 9 May 2022
e-pub ahead of print date: 25 May 2022
Keywords: carbon burial, fjords, organic carbon, rivers, sediment, submarine channel

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 457614
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/457614
ISSN: 2169-8953
PURE UUID: 8e008617-38d2-48ef-8a65-7b3b5d1e2cde

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Date deposited: 14 Jun 2022 16:39
Last modified: 23 Jul 2022 00:26

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Contributors

Author: Sophie Hage
Author: Valier Galy
Author: M.J.B. Cartigny
Author: C Heerema
Author: Maarten Heijnen
Author: Sanem Acikalin
Author: Michael Clare
Author: I Giesbrecht
Author: A Hendry
Author: R.G. Hilton
Author: Stephen Hubbard
Author: J. Hunt
Author: Gwyn Lintern
Author: C.A. Mcghee
Author: D.R. Parsons
Author: Ed Pope
Author: Cooper Stacey
Author: Esther Sumner
Author: S Tank
Author: Peter J Talling

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