Colloid dynamics and transport of major elements through a boreal river - brackish bay mixing zone

Ö. Gustafsson, A. Widerlund, P. Andersson, J. Ingri, P. Roos, Anna Ledin

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    A range of biogeochemical methodologies were applied to investigate how aggregation processes affected the phase distribution and mixing of Fe, Si, and organic carbon between the Kalix River and the Bothnic Bay, northernmost Baltic Sea salinityF3; the low-salinity zone LSZ. was stretching over 60 km in the spring.. During the dynamic springflood conditions studied, small 238U–234Th disequilibria, low sediment trap fluxes, laboratory mixing experiments, as well as results from an independent two-box, two-dimensional mixing model combine to suggest that no significant removal of Fe, Si, or organic C was occurring in the highly-resolved LSZ. While no conclusions may be drawn based solely on property–salinity plots over narrow salinity ranges, apparently linear graphs for Fe and Si over 3 separate years also suggest minimal removal in this regime. At the same time, size distributions both of elements —from cross-flow ultrafiltration — and of bulk suspended solids — from light scattering photon correlation spectroscopy wPCSx. — indicated that significant aggregation was taking place. The aggregation-without-significant-settling scenario in this low-salinity mixing regime, with a geochemistry similar to that of neighboring Russian Arctic rivers, is hypothesized to result from a comparatively high organic-to-detrital matter characteristic of the aggregates. While first principles would indeed suggest that decreasing electrostatic repulsion during mixing lead to aggregation, a low specific density of mineral-poor amorphous organic aggregates may lead to transport of these authigenic particles further away from the river mouth. The role of detrital ‘‘sinkers’’ on vertical removal of suspended organic matter is discussed in the wider context of scavenging mechanisms in the ocean. q2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMarine Chemistry
    Issue number1-2
    Pages (from-to)1-21
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


    • Bothnic Bay
    • Colloids
    • Low-salinity zone
    • Kalix River
    • Aggregation

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