Clay mineral distribution and provenance in surface sediments of Central Yellow Sea Mud
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The provenance of the Central Yellow Sea Mud (CYSM) in the Yellow Sea has been attracted a great deal of attention over the last three decades, but a consensus is not yet reached. In this study, 101 surface sediment samples collected from the CYSM were investigated to determine provenance and transport mechanisms in the area using the clay minerals and major element components. The Huanghe sediments are characterized by higher smectite, but the Changjiang sediments are more abundant illite contents. Western Korean rivers contain more kaolinite and chlorite than do Chinese rivers. The Chinese rivers have higher Fe2O3, MgO, and CaO than the Korean rivers at the same Al2O3 concentration. Therefore, the clay minerals and major element concentrations can be useful indicator for the source. Based on our results, we suggest that the surface sediments in CYSM were composed mainly of Changjiang sediments, mixed a partly with sediments from the Huanghe and the western Korean rivers. Although the northwestern part of CYSM is proximate to the Huanghe, the contents of smectite and CaO were extremely low. It could be evidence that the Huanghe materials do not enter directly into the CYSM due to the Shandong Peninsula Front. Considering the oceanic circulation in the Yellow Sea, the Changjiang sediments could be transported eastward with the Changjiang Diluted Water and then mixed in CYSM via the Yellow Sea Warm Current (YSWC). Huanghe sediments could be provided by coastal currents (Shandong Coastal Current and Yellow Sea Coastal Current) and the YSWC. In addition, sediments from western Korean rivers might be supplied into the CYSM deposit via the Korean Coastal Current, Transversal Current, and YSWC.
Key wordsCentral Yellow Sea Mud (CYSM) clay mineral major element components sediments provenance transport mechanism
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