Browsing by Subject "ESTUARINE SEDIMENTS"

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  • Jokinen, Sami; Virtasalo, Joonas J.; Jilbert, Tom; Kaiser, Jerome; Dellwig, Olaf; Arz, Helge W.; Hänninen, Jari; Arppe, Laura; Collander, Miia; Saarinen, Timo (2018)
    The anthropogenically forced expansion of coastal hypoxia is a major environmental problem affecting coastal ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles throughout the world. The Baltic Sea is a semi-enclosed shelf sea whose central deep basins have been highly prone to deoxygenation during its Holocene history, as shown previously by numerous paleoenvironmental studies. However, long-term data on past fluctuations in the intensity of hypoxia in the coastal zone of the Baltic Sea are largely lacking, despite the significant role of these areas in retaining nutrients derived from the catchment. Here we present a 1500-year multiproxy record of near-bottom water redox changes from the coastal zone of the northern Baltic Sea, encompassing the climatic phases of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), the Little Ice Age (LIA), and the Modern Warm Period (MoWP). Our reconstruction shows that although multicentennial climate variability has modulated the depositional conditions and delivery of organic matter (OM) to the basin the modern aggravation of coastal hypoxia is unprecedented and, in addition to gradual changes in the basin configuration, it must have been forced by excess human-induced nutrient loading. Alongside the anthropogenic nutrient input, the progressive deoxygenation since the beginning of the 1900s was fueled by the combined effects of gradual shoaling of the basin and warming climate, which amplified sediment focusing and increased the vulnerability to hypoxia. Importantly, the eutrophication of coastal waters in our study area began decades earlier than previously thought, leading to a marked aggravation of hypoxia in the 1950s. We find no evidence of similar anthropogenic forcing during the MCA. These results have implications for the assessment of reference conditions for coastal water quality. Furthermore, this study highlights the need for combined use of sedimentological, ichnological, and geochemical proxies in order to robustly reconstruct subtle redox shifts especially in dynamic, non-euxinic coastal settings with strong seasonal contrasts in the bottom water quality.
  • Ray, Daisy; Leary, Peter; Livens, Francis; Gray, Neil; Morris, Katherine; Law, Kathleen A.; Fuller, Adam J.; Abrahamsen-Mills, Liam; Howe, John; Tierney, Kieran; Muir, Graham; Law, Gareth T.W. (2020)
    Understanding anthropogenic radionuclide biogeochemistry and mobility in natural systems is key to improving the management of radioactively contaminated environments and radioactive wastes. Here, we describe the contemporary depth distribution and phase partitioning of 137Cs, Pu, and 241Am in two sediment cores taken from the Irish Sea (Site 1: the Irish Sea Mudpatch; Site 2: the Esk Estuary). Both sites are located ~10 km from the Sellafield nuclear site. Low-level aqueous radioactive waste has been discharged from the Sellafield site into the Irish Sea for >50 y. We compare the depth distribution of the radionuclides at each site to trends in sediment and porewater redox chemistry, using trace element abundance, microbial ecology, and sequential extractions, to better understand the relative importance of sediment biogeochemistry vs. physical controls on radionuclide distribution/post-depositional mobility in the sediments. We highlight that the distribution of 137Cs, Pu, and 241Am at both sites is largely controlled by physical mixing of the sediments, physical transport processes, and sediment accumulation. Interestingly, at the Esk Estuary, microbially-mediated redox processes (considered for Pu) do not appear to offer significant controls on Pu distribution, even over decadal timescales. We also highlight that the Irish Sea Mudpatch likely still acts as a source of historical pollution to other areas in the Irish Sea, despite ever decreasing levels of waste output from the Sellafield site.