The role of airborne volcanic ash for the surface ocean biogeochemical iron-cycle: a review

Duggen, Svend, Olgun, Nazli, Croot, Peter, Hoffmann, Linn J., Dietze, Heiner, Delmelle, P. and Teschner, Claudia (2010) The role of airborne volcanic ash for the surface ocean biogeochemical iron-cycle: a review Biogeosciences (BG), 7 (3). pp. 827-844. DOI 10.5194/bg-7-827-2010.

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Iron is a key micronutrient for phytoplankton growth in the surface ocean. Yet the significance of volcanism for the marine biogeochemical iron-cycle is poorly constrained. Recent studies, however, suggest that offshore deposition of airborne ash from volcanic eruptions is a way to inject significant amounts of bio-available iron into the surface ocean. Volcanic ash may be transported up to several tens of kilometers high into the atmosphere during large-scale eruptions and fine ash may stay aloft for days to weeks, thereby reaching even the remotest and most iron-starved oceanic regions. Scientific ocean drilling demonstrates that volcanic ash layers and dispersed ash particles are frequently found in marine sediments and that therefore volcanic ash deposition and iron-injection into the oceans took place throughout much of the Earth's history. Natural evidence and the data now available from geochemical and biological experiments and satellite techniques suggest that volcanic ash is a so far underestimated source for iron in the surface ocean, possibly of similar importance as aeolian dust. Here we summarise the development of and the knowledge in this fairly young research field. The paper covers a wide range of chemical and biological issues and we make recommendations for future directions in these areas. The review paper may thus be helpful to improve our understanding of the role of volcanic ash for the marine biogeochemical iron-cycle, marine primary productivity and the ocean-atmosphere exchange of CO2 and other gases relevant for climate in the Earth's history.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Volcanology; Biogeochemistry
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-CH Chemical Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.5194/bg-7-827-2010
ISSN: 1726-4170
Date Deposited: 11 May 2010 11:29
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2012 14:51

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