Silicon isotope constraints on sources and utilization of silicic acid in the northern South China Sea

Cao, Zhimian, Frank, Martin, Dai, Minhan, Grasse, Patricia and Ehlert, Claudia (2012) Silicon isotope constraints on sources and utilization of silicic acid in the northern South China Sea Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 97 . pp. 88-104. DOI 10.1016/j.gca.2012.08.039.

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Abstract

The stable silicon isotopic composition (δ30Si) of waters and diatoms has increasingly been used to investigate the biogeochemical cycling of Si in the major ocean basins. Here we present the first Si isotope data set from the northern South China Sea (NSCS), a large marginal sea system in the western North Pacific to examine sources and utilization of silicic acid (Si(OH)4). During two cruises in July–August 2009 (summer) and January 2010 (winter), samples for isotope measurements of dissolved Si(OH)4 (δ30SiSi(OH)4) and of biogenic silica (δ30SiBSi) in suspended particles were collected along a transect perpendicular to the coast from the inner shelf to the deep-water slope, as well as at the South East Asian Time-series Study (SEATS) station located in the NSCS basin. Surface δ30SiSi(OH)4 generally increased from values ∼+2.3‰ on the inner shelf to ∼+2.8‰ above the deep basin, suggesting an increasing utilization of dissolved Si(OH)4 reflecting the transition from eutrophic to oligotrophic conditions. The δ30SiBSi values were systematically lower than the corresponding δ30SiSi(OH)4 in the euphotic zone (above 100 m) on the shelf and slope. In contrast at station SEATS in the NSCS basin, δ30SiBSi signatures in both seasons were within error equal to δ30SiSi(OH)4 in the surface mixed layer (above 50 m) and δ30SiBSi in waters below were significantly higher than the corresponding δ30SiSi(OH)4. By comparing the field data with the Si isotope fractionation revealed by the Rayleigh or the steady state models, we demonstrate the existence of variable Si(OH)4 origins in different areas of the NSCS. Surface waters on the inner shelf were largely fed by nutrients from the Pearl River input. While the primary source of Si(OH)4 for the euphotic zone on the outer shelf and slope was upwelling or vertical mixing from underlying waters, the Si(OH)4 in the surface mixed layer of the NSCS basin might have originated from horizontal mixing with other highly fractionated surface waters. As a consequence, the Si isotope dynamics in the NSCS are largely controlled by variable biological fractionation of Si in waters from different sources with different initial Si isotopic compositions rather than any single source water.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000310427400006
Keywords: South China Sea; silicon isotope; EASTERN EQUATORIAL PACIFIC; PEARL RIVER ESTUARY; BIOGENIC SILICA; SEASONAL-VARIATIONS; INORGANIC CARBON; MARINE DIATOMS; SI-ISOTOPES; OCEAN; FRACTIONATION; WATERS
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.gca.2012.08.039
ISSN: 0016-7037
Projects: CHOICE-C
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2012 11:48
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2017 07:17
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/16406

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