Helium, neon, and tritium in the Black Sea
Abstract:Measurements of the 3He/4He ratio, and concentrations of helium, neon, and tritium have been made in samples collected at station 1355 in the Black Sea during the 1975 cruise of R/V Chain. Helium concentrations increase rapidly from 400 m to about 1000 m and then less rapidly below 1000 m. The maximum He concentration excess is about 16% above solubility equilibrium. Neon concentrations are constant, within a few percent of solubility equilibrium, below 400 m. The He-Ne data thus clearly indicate a large component of radiogenic 4He in the deep water from decay of U and Th in the bottom sediments. Tritium concentrations decrease from 67.2 T.U. at the surface to near-zero values at 726 m, 968 m, and 1358 m. Two deeper samples at 1745 m and 1939 m contain some tritium—0.6 ± 0.3 T.U. and 0.7 ± 0.2 T.U. respectively, which shows that a small amount of high-tritium surface water has descended to the bottom during the past twenty years. A one-dimensional three-box model using our tritium concentrations and the geothermal heat flux values measured by Erickson and Simmons (1974) gives vertical exchange times of 440 ± 180 years between the deep water (1000 m-2000 m) and the middle water (400 m-1000 m), and 125 ± 75 years between the middle water and a layer above from 200 m to 400 m in the salinity interval 21.50‰-22.00‰. The fluxes of radiogenic 4He and primordial 3He into the deep water are found to be 1.3 ± 0.5 × 105 atoms cm—2 sec—1 and 1.1 ± 0.6 atoms cm—2 sec—1 respectively which may be compared with world-ocean estimates of Craig et al. (1975)—3 ± 1.5 x 105 atoms cm—2 sec—1 and 4 ± 1 atoms cm—2 sec—1.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1983-02-01
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