Freshwater Seepage Into Sediments of the Shelf, Shelf Edge, and Continental Slope of the Canadian Beaufort Sea.

Gwiazda, R., Paull, C. K., Dallimore, S. R., Melling, H., Jin, Y. K., Hong, J. K., Riedel, M. , Lundsten, E., Anderson, K. and Conway, K. (2018) Freshwater Seepage Into Sediments of the Shelf, Shelf Edge, and Continental Slope of the Canadian Beaufort Sea. Open Access Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 19 (9). pp. 3039-3055. DOI 10.1029/2018GC007623.

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Abstract

Long‐term warming of the continental shelf of the Canadian Beaufort Sea caused by the transgression associated with the last deglaciation may be causing decomposition of relict offshore subsea permafrost and gas hydrates. To evaluate this possibility, pore waters from 118 sediment cores up to 7.3‐m long were taken on the shelf and slope and analyzed for chloride concentrations and δ180 and δD composition. We observed downcore decreases in pore waters Cl− concentration in sediments from all sites from the inner shelf (<20‐m water depth), from the shelf edge, from the outer slope (down to 1,000‐m water depths), and from localized shelf features such as midshelf pingo‐like features and inner shelf pockmarks. In contrast, pore water freshening is absent from all investigated cores of the Mackenzie Trough. Downcore pore waters Cl− concentration decreases indicate regional widespread freshwater seepage. Extrapolations to zero Cl− of pore water Cl− versus δ180 regression lines indicate that freshwaters in these environments carry different isotope signatures and thus are sourced from different reservoirs. These isotopic signatures indicate that freshening of shelf sediments pore waters is a result of downward infiltration of Mackenzie River water, freshening of shelf edge sediments is due to relict submarine permafrost degradation or gas hydrate decomposition under the shelf, and freshening of slope sediments is consistent with regional groundwater flow and submarine groundwater discharge as far as 150 km from shore. These results confirm ongoing decomposition of offshore permafrost and suggest extensive current groundwater discharge far from the coast.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: gas hydrates, pore waters freshening, submarine groundwater discharge, submarine permafrost
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1029/2018GC007623
ISSN: 1525-2027
Projects: KOPRI
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2017 12:58
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2019 15:00
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/35475

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