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Authigenic Uranium: Relationship to Oxygen Penetration Depth and Organic Carbon Rain

Author(s): McManus J, William MB, Klinkhammer GP, Hammond DE, Holm C

Abstract

We have measured U in benthic incubation chambers, sediment pore waters, and in sediments along the California continental margin. Sedimentary U uptake rates, based on a combination of sediment pore water profiles and benthic incubation chambers, generally agree with those predicted from sediment accumulation rate data. This agreement supports the view that most of the continental margin sedimentary U is delivered by diffusion across the seawater-sediment boundary. The average rate of authigenic U accumulation for all the sites examined here is ∼−0.2 nmol cm-2 y-1, which is consistent with published global estimates of sedimentary U uptake. In addition, the accumulation rate of U in sediments exhibits a nonlinear relationship with the oxygen penetration depth and a linear relationship with the organic carbon rain rate. These relationships highlight the potential utility for the U accumulation rate as a proxy for these processes.

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