Origin and Preservation Conditions of Organic Matter in the Mozambique Channel: Evidence for Widespread Oxidation Processes in the Deep-Water Domains

Type Article
Date 2021-10
Language English
Author(s) Torelli Martina1, Battani Anne1, Pillot Daniel1, Kohler Eric1, de Azevedo Joel Lopes1, Kowalewski Isabelle1, Pastor Lucie2, Brandily Christophe2, Schmidt Sabine3, Jouet Gwenael4, Deville Eric1
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFP Energies Nouvelles, 1-4 Av. de Bois-Préau, 92852, Rueil-Malmaison Cedex, France
2 : IFREMER, Centre, de Bretagne, REM/EEP, Laboratoire Environnement Profond, F-29280 Plouzané, France
3 : UMR5805 EPOC, CNRS, OASU, Université de Bordeaux, 33615 Pessac, France
4 : IFREMER, Centre, de Bretagne, REM/GM, Laboratoire Cycles Géochimiques et ressources, F-29280 Plouzané, France
Source Marine Geology (0025-3227) (Elsevier BV), 2021-10 , Vol. 440 , P. 106589 (16p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2021.106589
WOS© Times Cited 1
Keyword(s) Organic matter, Transport, Preservation, Oxidation, Mozambique Channel, Rock-Eval, Scanning Electron Microscopy

The Mozambique and Madagascar margins present major rivers that are responsible for the discharge of large amounts of terrestrial organic matter (OM) which can influence carbon cycling in marine environments. Therefore, the Mozambique channel represents a unique case to study the fate of the organic carbon in deep-water domains. Using a new and extensive data set of sedimentary OM collected from sediment traps, seafloor sediments and core sediments, we address the origin of the OM that is transported and deposited in the Mozambique Channel, its degradation state and preservation conditions. A Rock-Eval 6 survey allowed us to characterize the origin and amount of OM from shallow to deep-water turbidite systems, between 500 and 4400 m water depth. Rock-Eval 6 performed on suspended sediments within particle traps at 47 m above the seabed show that the OM is transported into the deep-water domain with relatively high TOC (between 1.5 and 2.5%). However, the OM is largely oxidized close to the water-sediment interface (Oxygen Index >300 mg CO2/g TOC). Seafloor sediments sampled to a maximum depth of 40 cm show lower TOC values compared to those collected from particle traps suggesting that the degradation of the OM is mainly active at the water-sediment interface. Small concentrations of OM are preserved within the recent sediments of the distal area of the Zambezi turbidite system below 2500 m water depth (TOC < 0.5%). Rock-Eval results show that core sediments from the Majunga slope (NW margin of Madagascar) and the Zambezi slope (Mozambique margin) contain the highest concentration of terrestrial OM (TOC between 1 and 2%). However, the OM within core sediments from the deep-water domain is largely oxidized and degraded, probably due to the conjugate effect of low sediment accumulation rates (SAR) and high permeabilities of the coarse-grained sediments. Consequently, the deep-water domain of the Mozambique Channel does not seem to be an important sink of terrestrial OM. This process is reinforced by important bottom water currents which induce the remobilization and transport of seafloor sediments that lead to higher oxygen exposure time in the uppermost centimeters of sediments.

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Torelli Martina, Battani Anne, Pillot Daniel, Kohler Eric, de Azevedo Joel Lopes, Kowalewski Isabelle, Pastor Lucie, Brandily Christophe, Schmidt Sabine, Jouet Gwenael, Deville Eric (2021). Origin and Preservation Conditions of Organic Matter in the Mozambique Channel: Evidence for Widespread Oxidation Processes in the Deep-Water Domains. Marine Geology, 440, 106589 (16p.). Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2021.106589 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00711/82267/