Coronavirus Information for the UC San Diego Community

Our leaders are working closely with federal and state officials to ensure your ongoing safety at the university. Stay up to date with the latest developments. Learn more.

Sources, degradation, and transport of organic matter in the New Britain Shelf-Trench continuum, Papua New Guinea

TitleSources, degradation, and transport of organic matter in the New Britain Shelf-Trench continuum, Papua New Guinea
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLuo M, Gieskes J, Chen L, Scholten J, Pan B, Lin G, Chen D
Date Published2019/10
ISBN Number2169-8953

Abstract Hadal trenches are considered as depocenters for organic matter and hotspots for microbial diagenetic activity. Here, we explore the sources, degradation, and transport of organic matter in the shelf-trench continuum using seven short sediment cores collected along two transects with water depths ranging between 1,553 and 8,901 m in the New Britain Trench area, Papua New Guinea. Carbon isotopic compositions (δ13C) and radiocarbon contents (Δ14C) of sedimentary organic matter accompanied by total organic carbon/total nitrogen ratios suggest an important contribution from the preaged soil organic matter mixed by the marine algae and terrigenous C3 vascular plants. In addition, the trench axis sites are characterized by elevated accumulation of terrigenous organic materials. Rates of organic matter mineralization approximated by dissolved inorganic carbon fluxes at the sediment-water interface reveal an approximately threefold higher rate at the trench axis sites than the abyssal sites. 210Pbxs profiles and burial of carbonate (up to 50%) at both trench axis sites reflect recent occurrence of mass-wasting events possibly induced by earthquakes, which is responsible for the transport of preaged, terrigenous organic matter to the trench bottom. This tectonically triggered deposition event, which was also shown to occur in the Japan Trench, the Tonga Trench, and probably in many other trenches, is likely to efficiently transport terrigenous organic matter to hadal trenches, thereby underpinning the importance of terrigenous organic matter burial in hadal trenches for the ocean organic carbon budget. Furthermore, we hypothesize that hadal trenches may host a distinct microbial community that is capable of feeding on old, refractory terrigenous organic matter.

Student Publication: 
Research Topics: