Journal of Oceanology and Limnology

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 114–127 | Cite as

Century-scale high-resolution black carbon records in sediment cores from the South Yellow Sea, China

  • Xiaoming Xu (徐小明)
  • Yuehui Hong (洪跃辉)
  • Qianzhi Zhou (周芊至)
  • Jinzhong Liu (刘金钟)
  • Lirong Yuan (袁丽蓉)
  • Jianghai Wang (王江海)


Black carbon (BC) has received increasing attention in the last 20 years because it is not only an absorbent of toxic pollutants but also a greenhouse substance, preserving fire-history records, and more importantly, acting as an indicator of biogeochemical cycles and global changes. By adopting an improved chemothermal oxidation method (WXY), this study reconstructed the century-scale high-resolution records of BC deposition from two fine-grained sediment cores collected from the Yellow Sea Cold Water Mass in the South Yellow Sea. The BC records were divided into five stages, which exhibited specific sequences with three BC peaks at approximately 1891, 1921, and 2007 AD, representing times at which the first heavy storms appeared just after the termination of long-term droughts. The significant correlation between the times of the BC peaks in the cores and heavy storms in the area of the Huanghe (Yellow) River demonstrated that BC peaks could result from markedly strengthened sedimentation due to surface runoff, which augmented the atmospheric deposition. Stable carbon isotope analysis indicated that the evident increase in carbon isotope ratios of BC in Stage 5 might have resulted from the input of weathered rock-derived graphitic carbon cardinally induced by the annual anthropogenic modulation of water-borne sediment in the Huanghe River since 2005 AD. Numerical calculations demonstrated that the input fraction of graphitic carbon was 22.97% for Stage 5, whereas no graphitic carbon entered during Stages 1 and 3. The obtained data provide new and important understanding of the source-sink history of BC in the Yellow Sea.


black carbon sediment stable carbon isotope total organic carbon Yellow Sea 


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Copyright information

© Chinese Society for Oceanology and Limnology, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoming Xu (徐小明)
    • 1
  • Yuehui Hong (洪跃辉)
    • 1
  • Qianzhi Zhou (周芊至)
    • 1
  • Jinzhong Liu (刘金钟)
    • 2
  • Lirong Yuan (袁丽蓉)
    • 1
  • Jianghai Wang (王江海)
    • 1
  1. 1.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Resources and Coastal Engineering / South China Sea Bioresource Exploitation and Utilization Collaborative Innovation Center, School of Marine SciencesSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Guangzhou Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina

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