, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 565-591
Date: 24 Nov 2011

Manganese Sources and Sinks in the Arctic Ocean with Reference to Periodic Enrichments in Basin Sediments

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Abstract

Between 1990 and 2007, twenty-nine box cores were recovered within the Arctic Ocean spanning shelf, slope and basin locations, and analyzed for aluminum (Al), manganese (Mn), other inorganic components and organic carbon (COrg). Using these core data together with literature values, we have constructed budgets for Al and Mn in the Arctic Ocean. Most of the Al and Mn entering the Arctic comes from rivers or coastal erosion, and almost all of these two elements is trapped within the Arctic. Total Mn distributions in sediments reflect the recycling and loss of much of the Mn from shelf sediments with ultimate burial over the slopes and in basins. Mn enrichments observed as bands in long cores from the basins appear to co-occur with inter-glacial periods. Our Mn budget suggests that change in sea level associated with the accumulation and melting of glaciers is a likely cause for the banding. The Arctic Ocean, which presently contains as much as 50% shelf area, loses most of that when global sea level falls by ~120 m during glacial maxima. With lower sea level, Mn input from rivers and coastal erosion declines, and inputs become stored in permafrost on the sub-aerial shelves or at the shelf margin. Sea-level rise re-establishes coastal erosion and large riverine inputs at the margin and initiates the remobilization of Mn stored on shelves by turning on algal productivity, which provides the COrg required to reduce sedimentary Mn oxyhydroxides.