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Müller, Peter J; Fischer, Gerhard (2001): Alkenone data of sediment traps off Cape Blanc, NW Africa. PANGAEA,, Supplement to: Müller, PJ; Fischer, G (2001): A 4-year sediment trap record of alkenones from the filamentous upwelling region off Cape Blanc, NW Africa and a comparison with distributions in underlying sediments. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 48(8), 1877-1903,

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We analysed long-chain alkenones in sinking particles and surface sediments from the filamentous upwelling region off Cape Blanc, NW Africa, to evaluate the transfer of surface water signals into the geological record. Our study is based on time-series sediment trap records from 730 m (1990-1991) to 2195-3562 m depth (1988-1991). Alkenone fluxes showed considerable interannual variations and no consistent seasonality. The average flux of C37 and C38 alkenones to the deep traps was 1.9 µg/m**2/d from March 1988 to October 1990 and sevenfold higher in the subsequent year. Alkenone fluxes to the shallower traps were on average twice as high and showed similar temporal variations. The alkenone unsaturation indices UK'37, UK38Me and UK38Et closely mirrored the seasonal variations in sea-surface temperature (weekly Reynolds SST). Time lags of 10-48 days between the SST and unsaturation maxima suggest particle sinking rates of about 80 and 280 m/d for the periods of low and high alkenone fluxes, respectively. The average flux-weighted UK'37 temperature for the 4-year time series of the deeper traps was 22.1°C, in perfect agreement with the mean weekly SST for the same period. This and the comparison with seasonal temperature variations in the upper 100 m of the water column suggests that UK'37 records principally the yearly average of the mixed-layer temperature in this region. A comparison between the average annual alkenone fluxes to the lower traps (2400 µg/m**2/yr) and into the underlying sediments (4 µg/m**2/yr) suggests that only about 0.2% of the alkenones reaching the deep ocean became preserved in the sediments. The flux-weighted alkenone concentrations also decreased considerably, from 2466 µg/gC in the water column to 62 µg/gC in the surface sediments. Such a low degree of alkenone preservation is typical for slowly accumulating oxygenated sediments. Despite these dramatic diagenetic alkenone losses, the UK'37 ratio was not affected. The average UK'37 value of the sediments (0.796±0.010 or 22.3±0.3°C) was identical within error limits to the 4-year average of the lower traps. The unsaturation indices for C38 alkenones and the ratio between C37 and C38 alkenones also revealed a high degree of stability. Our results do not support the hypothesis that UK'37 is biased towards higher values during oxic diagenesis.
Median Latitude: 21.045750 * Median Longitude: -20.447000 * South-bound Latitude: 20.755000 * West-bound Longitude: -20.687000 * North-bound Latitude: 21.145000 * East-bound Longitude: -19.742000
Date/Time Start: 1988-03-22T12:00:00 * Date/Time End: 1991-11-09T00:01:00
CB1_trap * Latitude: 20.755000 * Longitude: -19.742000 * Date/Time Start: 1988-03-22T00:00:00 * Date/Time End: 1989-03-08T00:00:00 * Elevation: -3646.0 m * Campaign: M6/6 * Basis: Meteor (1986) * Method/Device: Trap (TRAP)
CB2_trap * Latitude: 21.145000 * Longitude: -20.687000 * Date/Time Start: 1989-03-15T00:00:00 * Date/Time End: 1990-03-24T00:00:00 * Elevation: -4092.0 m * Campaign: M9/4 * Basis: Meteor (1986) * Method/Device: Trap (TRAP)
CB3_trap * Latitude: 21.138000 * Longitude: -20.672000 * Date/Time Start: 1990-04-08T00:00:00 * Date/Time End: 1991-04-30T00:00:00 * Elevation: -4094.0 m * Campaign: M12/1 * Basis: Meteor (1986) * Method/Device: Trap (TRAP)
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Datasets listed in this publication series

  1. Müller, PJ; Fischer, G (2001): Alkenone data of sediment trap CB1.
  2. Müller, PJ; Fischer, G (2001): Alkenone data of sediment trap CB2.
  3. Müller, PJ; Fischer, G (2001): Alkenone data of sediment trap CB3.
  4. Müller, PJ; Fischer, G (2001): Alkenone data of sediment trap CB4.