Title: Timescales of hydrothermal scavenging in the South Pacific Ocean from 234Th, 230Th, and 228Th
Authors: PAVIA FRANK J.ANDERSON ROBERT F.BLACK ERIN E.KIPP LAUREN E.VIVANCOS SEBASTIANFLEISHER MARTIN Q.CHARETTE MATTHEW A.SANIAL VIRGINIEMOORE WILLARDHULT MIKAELLU YANBINCHENG HAIZHANG PULAWRENCE EDWARDS R.
Citation: EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS vol. 506 p. 146-156
Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Publication Year: 2019
JRC N°: JRC110709
ISSN: 0012-821X (online)
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC110709
DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.10.038
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Hydrothermal activity in the deep ocean generates plumes capable of removing trace elements from seawater by adsorption and subsequent sinking of particles. This removal process, known as scavenging, can be probed using the insoluble radiogenic isotopes of thorium (Th), which are produced at a known rate in the water column via the decay of soluble uranium (234Th, 230Th) and radium (228Th) isotopes. We present dissolved and particulate measurements of these three isotopes in a hydrothermal plume observed during the GEOTRACES GP16 section in the southeast Pacific Ocean. Since their half-lives vary from days (234Th) to years (228Th) to tens of thousands of years (230Th), the combination of their signals can be used to understand scavenging processes occurring on a wide range of timescales. Scavenging is a multi-step process involving adsorption and desorption onto particles, followed by particle aggregation, sinking, and eventual sedimentation. We use thorium isotopes to study how hydrothermal activity affects these steps. The rate constants for net adsorption of 234Th determined here are comparable to previous estimates from hydrothermal plumes in the Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans. The partitioning of 234Th and 230Th between large and small particles is more similar in the hydrothermal plume than above it, indicating faster aggregation of particles within the hydrothermal plume at stations nearby the East Pacific Rise than in waters outside the plume. In addition to rapid scavenging and aggregation near the ridge axis, we also infer continuous off-axis scavenging from observations and modeling of 228Th/228Ra activity ratios. The degree of depletion of the three thorium isotopes increases in order of half-life, with total 234Th activity close to that of its parent 238U, but 230Th showing nearly 70% depletion compared to expected values from reversible scavenging. By modeling the variations in depletion for the different isotopes, we show that much of the 230Th removal is inherited from scavenging events happening long before the most recent hydrothermal inputs.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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