Articles | Volume 9, issue 12
Biogeosciences, 9, 5279–5290, 2012
Biogeosciences, 9, 5279–5290, 2012

Research article 19 Dec 2012

Research article | 19 Dec 2012

Imprint of a dissolved cobalt basaltic source on the Kerguelen Plateau

J. Bown1, M. Boye1, P. Laan2, A. R. Bowie3,4, Y.-H. Park5, C. Jeandel6, and D. M. Nelson1 J. Bown et al.
  • 1Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, UMS3113, CNRS – Laboratoire des Sciences de l'Environnement MARin, Technopôle Brest Iroise, 29280 Plouzané, France
  • 2Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Department of Marine Chemistry and Geology, Texel, The Netherlands
  • 3Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC), University of Tasmania, Private Bag 80, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
  • 4Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), University of Tasmania, Private Bag 129, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
  • 5LOCEAN/USM 402, Département Milieux et Peuplements Aquatiques, Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, 43 rue Cuvier, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
  • 6LEGOS, UMR5566, Université de Toulouse, CNRS-CNES-IRD, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, 14 av. Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France

Abstract. Processes of cobalt (Co) entrainment from shelf sediments over the Kerguelen Plateau were studied during the KEOPS (Kerguelen Ocean Plateau compared Study) in order to explain the exceptionally high dissolved cobalt concentrations that have been measured in the surface waters above the Kerguelen Plateau, and in intermediate and deep waters above its eastern slope. Lateral advection and dissolution of Co contained in basalt sediments around Heard Island, a main source of lithogenic Co in the study area, were shown to imprint the process of surface enrichment over the plateau. Dissolved Co enrichment was strongest at the intercept of the eastern slope with intermediate and deep waters, probably due to more efficient mobilisation of the sediments in the slope current, in addition to advection of Co-enriched and low-oxygenated ocean water masses.

In surface waters, the strong sedimentary Co inputs were estimated to be much higher than biological Co uptake in phytoplankton blooms, underlining the potential use of dissolved cobalt as tracer of the natural iron fertilization above the Kerguelen Plateau. Based on a simple steady-state balance equation of the external input of dissolved iron over the plateau, the fertilization of iron inferred by using dissolved Co as a tracer of basalt sources is estimated to be 28 × 102 ± 21 × 102 t yr−1 in surface waters of the Kerguelen Plateau. This estimate is consistent with preceding ones (Zhang et al., 2008; Chever et al., 2010), and the calculated iron supply matches with the phytoplankton demand (Sarthou et al., 2008).

Final-revised paper