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Free Content Assessing organic matter mineralization, degradability and mixing rate in an ocean margin sediment (Northeast Atlantic) by diagenetic modeling

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We test whether organic matter degradability, mixing activity, and total sediment mineralization can be estimated by inversion of a coupled nonlinear numerical steady-state diagenetic model. We use a single data set comprising oxygen, nitrate, ammonium and organic carbon versus depth profiles from a slope station in the Goban Spur area (1034 m, Northeast Atlantic).

Based on an extensive sensitivity analysis, it appears that (1) when using all data, the total mineralization rates can be determined with reasonable precision; bioturbation and degradability are less well constrained and (2) total mineralization rates can be determined based on nitrate and oxygen profiles only; estimates of organic matter mixing rates and degradability are refined when including the solid phase organic carbon profile.

The bulk mixing rates obtained for organic carbon are one order of magnitude higher than mixing rates previously estimated from 210Pb profiles, lending validity to the hypothesis that organic particles are mixed faster than inert particles. The degradability of the organic carbon prior to its incorporation in the sediment is in the order of 10–30 yr-1, indicating that mineralization in this slope station of the Goban Spur area is fueled mainly by freshly deposited organic matter.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1998

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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