||This study has analyzed Pb-210 activity in cores taken from northern coastal South China Sea (SCS) and the area west of the Luzon Strait (LS) in order to estimate the sedimentation rates and the mass accumulate rates which allow a direct comparison with measured settling particulate fluxes. Also, the particulate and dissolved Po-210 and Pb-210 distributions in a water column located to the west of the LS were measured and compared with earlier data. Core samples were collected at Stations G and H (box cores) during the ORI-688 cruise (July, 2003) and at M1, F and 1 (box cores) during the ORI-722 cruise (June and July, 2004). The water column samples were collected at S7 during the ORI-763 curise (August, 2005). Stations H, G and 1 are located in the continental shelf of the northern SCS; Stations, M1, F and S7 are located in the deep water area west of the LS. |
The water content of the cores at F and M1 west of the LS is mostly around 40%~55%, while that of the cores at H, G and 1 in the coastal area of the northern SCS ranges about 25%~37%. The total organic matter as estimated from the total loss on ignition at F and M1 is, respectively, about 6% and 12% on the average. The coastal cores contain about 3%~8% total organic matter. The Pb-210 activity generally decreases with the core depth but reaches a constant at a certain depth, below which the excess Pb-210 vanishes in the core. Based on the excess Pb-210 distributions in the cores, the estimated sedimentation rates vary between 16 and 52cm/100yr. At M1 station, the mean Pb-210 flux and the mean mass flux are, respectively, 129 dpm/m2/d and 0.55 g/m2/d as determined from the deepest sediment trap(2848m) (Chung et al., 2004). These values are much smaller than what were estimated from the cores: the Pb-210 flux at 201 dpm/m2/d and the mass flux at 5.3 g/m2/d. The Pb-210 flux obtained from the trap is 65% of that measured from the core, and the mass flux from the trap is only 10% of that from the core. These large differences may arise from an over estimation of the sedimentation rate in the core (due to bioturbation) and near-bottom lateral transport of sediments from elsewhere. Compared to the basin west of the LS, the mass flux at the coastal area is much higher but the Pb-210 flux is much lower, probably due to the fact that shallow water has little amount of Pb-210 to be scavenged and no boundary scavenging effect has been observed.
The Pb-210 specific activity at S7 station ranges from 155 to 900 dpm/g; the Po-210 activity at this station ranges from 78 to 507dpm/g. The particulate Po/Pb ratio is about unity at 1800m depth, but the ratio at all other depths is less than unity, indicating that the Po-210 is deficient relative to Pb-210 in particles at this station. The total (dissolved + particulate) Po/Pb ratio in the water column is generally less than unity, showing Po-210 deficiency relative to Pb-210 probably due to absorption and/or adsorption of Po-210 by plankton and other organisms. The Po/Pb ratio for the water column averages about 0.6, corresponding to a mean residence time of 0.83yr for Po-210 removal.