||In order to understand the source, transport pathway and sink of settling particulates in the sea off northeast Taiwan, three moorings with six sediment traps (about 100 m and 300 m above bottom) were deployed on the northern slope of the Ilan ridge (T17S and T18S) and in the South Okinawa trough (T19S). The mooring deployed at T17S was lost due to a connecting ring which was rusted and broken. The duration of the mooring was 6 months (late November, 1999 to early May, 2000) with sampling intervals at 15 days each. When the moorings were recovered, seawater samples were collected for filtration near each station and a box core at T19S was also taken so that the settling particulates, suspended particulates and bottom sediments can be compared for their characteristics.|
The results show that higher apparent mass fluxes were observed in January, February and early April, 2000 at T18S. The apparent mass fluxes vary between 11 and 91 g/m2/d at T18S, and between 6 and 22 g/m2/d at T19S. The time-series variations of the Pb-210 activity are between 46 and 76 dpm/g at T18S, and between 79 and 122 dpm/g at T19S, the values of which are much higher than those of T18S. The temporal Po-210 variations range between 18 and 90 dpm/g at T18S, and from 65 to 193 dpm/g at T19S. The Po-210 activity and its variation are greater at T19S than at T18S. The 210Po/210Pb activity ratios are less than unity at about 0.8 at T18S, and greater than unity at about 1.3 at T19S. The total Po-210 activity in all water columns varies between 0.2 and 16 dpm/100kg while the total Pb-210 activity varies between 28 and 43 dpm/100kg. The mean total 210Po/210Pb activity ratio is about 0.3, indicating that Po-210 was easily scavenged and removed from water columns by particulate matter. The box core taken at T19S has Po-210 activity ranging from 54 to 121 dpm/g and Pb-210 activity from 51 to 90 dpm/g. The 210Po/210Pb activity ratio is greater than unity in the upper 6 cm, indicating an excess of Po-210 activity. Below 6 cm Po-210 and Pb-210 are nearly at equilibrium.
The 210Po/210Pb activity ratios in the water columns observed after the first deployments were higher than those observed after the second deployments. However, the 210Po/210Pb activity ratios of the settling particulates collected from the first trap deployments were lower than those from the second trap deployments. These changes might be attributed to earthquakes which occurred mainly before the second mooring period. These earthquakes could have caused a large quantity of terrigenous particulates with higher 210Po/210Pb activity ratio to be transported out to the study area in addition to resuspended shelf and slope sediments. These settling particulates, being enriched in organic matter with higher activity ratio, could preferentially scavenge Po-210 from the water column, resulting in much higher 210Po/210Pb activity ratios.