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Journal Article

Sediment Accumulation and Carbon Burial in Four Hadal Trench Systems


Wenzhöfer,  Frank
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Oguri, K., Masque, P., Zabel, M., Stewart, H. A., MacKinnon, G., Rowden, A. A., et al. (2022). Sediment Accumulation and Carbon Burial in Four Hadal Trench Systems. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-BIOGEOSCIENCES, 127(10): e2022JG006814. doi:10.1029/2022JG006814.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000C-769A-2
Hadal trenches are considered to act as depocenters for organic material, although pathways for the material transport and deposition rates are poorly constrained. Here we assess focusing, deposition and accumulation of material and organic carbon in four hadal trench systems underlying different surface ocean productivities; the eutrophic Atacama and Kuril-Kamchatka trenches, the mesotrophic Kermadec trench and the oligotrophic Mariana Trench. The study is based on the distributions of naturally occurring Pb-210(ex), Cs-137 and total organic carbon from recovered sediment cores and by applying previously quantified benthic mineralization rates. Periods of steady deposition and discreet mass-wasting deposits were identified from the profiles and the latter were associated with historic recorded seismic events in the respective regions. During periods without mass wasting, the estimated focusing factors along trench axes were elevated, suggesting more or less continuous downslope focusing of material toward the interior of the trenches. The estimated organic carbon deposition rates during these periods exhibited extensive site-specific variability, but were generally similar to values encountered at much shallower settings such as continental slopes and margins. Organic carbon deposition rates during periods of steady deposition were not mirrored by surface ocean productivity, but appeared confounded by local bathymetry. The inclusion of deposition mediated by mass-wasting events enhanced the sediment and organic carbon accumulations for the past similar to 150 years by up to a factor of similar to 4. Thus, due to intensified downslope material focusing and infrequent mass-wasting events, hadal trenches are important sites for deposition and sequestration of organic carbon in the deep sea.