Settling particles were sampled monthly for 1. year using an automated time-series sediment trap positioned at similar depths at two sites of high diatomaceous productivity in the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. The particles were analyzed for rare earth elements (REEs) by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) with and without chemical treatment of the bulk samples to isolate siliceous fractions. The REE composition of the bulk samples is explained largely by the contribution of two distinct components: (i) carbonate with a higher REE concentration, a negative Ce anomaly and lighter REE (LREE) enrichment; (ii) opal with a lower REE concentration, a weaker negative Ce anomaly and heavier REE (HREE) enrichment.The siliceous fractions of settling particles are characterized by high Si/Al ratios (30-190), reflecting high diatom productivity at the studied sites. The La/Al ratio of the siliceous fraction is close to that of the upper crust, but the Lu/Al and Lu/La ratios are significantly higher than those of the upper crust or airborne particles, indicating the presence of excess HREEs in the siliceous fraction. Diatoms are believed to be important carriers of HREEs.The Ce anomaly, Eu anomaly, slope of the REE pattern, and ΣREE of the siliceous fraction vary exponentially with decreasing total mass flux. They can be well-reproduced according to the differential dissolution kinetics of elements in the order of Ce. <. lighter REEs (LREEs) < Eu = heavier REEs (HREEs) < Si from settling particles, where the dissolution rate is critically reduced through particle aggregation. This order is consistent with the vertical distribution of dissolved REEs and Si in oceans. The differential dissolution kinetics leads to HREE enrichment of the original diatoms and REE enrichment of dissolved diatoms. The Lu/Si ratio of the siliceous fraction of settling particles recovered from some of the highest diatom fluxes is identical to that of the two elements dissolved in deep seawater, providing further evidence for the dissolution of siliceous matter in deep water.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology