Dating of sediments in the Biscay bay: Implication for pollution chronology

Type Article
Date 2005-05
Language English
Author(s) Schmidt S.1, 2, Tronczynski Jacek3, Guiot Nadege3, Lefevre I.2
Affiliation(s) 1 : UMR 5805 EPOC, Département de Géologie et d'Océanographie, 33405 Talence, France
2 : UMR1572 LSCE, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
3 : Ifremer, Direction de l'Environnement et de l'Aménagement du Littoral, Département des Polluants Chimiques, BP. 21105, 44311 Nantes, France
Source Radioprotection (0033-8451) (EDP Sciences), 2005-05 , Vol. 40 , N. Suppl.1 , P. S655-S660
DOI 10.1051/radiopro:2005s1-096
French abstract Important historical informations on the temporal changes of anthropogenic pollution in marine environment can be assessed using sediment analysis. Dating is a crucial prerequisite to reconstruct pollution events, to calculate fluxes, and thus to allow comparison between different sites. This work presents estimates of accumulation rates of sediments in the Bay of Biscay. Fives cores were collected during RIKEAU 2002 cruise on board o/v Thalia in order to study temporal changes in PAH and organohalogens compounds content of sediment. We compare chronostratigraphic estimates on cores derived from the natural radionuclide 210Pb in excess with estimates from the known times of introduction of the artificial radionuclide 137Cs to the environment. 210Pb, 226Ra and 137Cs were measured directly by non-destructive gamma spectrometry using a well type γ-detector. Total 210Pb and 226Ra activities vary from 30 to 150 mBq g-1, and 20 to 36 mBq g-1 respectively; 137Cs presents lower levels (< 5 mBq g-1). Profiles of 210Pb in three cores present a well mixed layer, from 2-3 to 10 cm, in the uppermost sediments, followed by an exponential decrease of activities, suitable for the determination of sedimentation rates. Under constant flux and sedimentation rate assumptions, vertical accretion rates derived from 210Pb present a large range from nearly 0.1 cm yr-1 up to almost 0.3 cm yr-1. Differences are mainly due to relative position of studied cores regarding the muddy patch. Although the moderate level of 137Cs limits the accuracy of this dating method, profiles of 137Cs with depth strengthen mean rates derived from 210Pb data. The implication of this dating on pollutant inputs in sediments of the Bay of Biscay is briefly discussed.
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