Imprint of a dissolved cobalt basaltic source on the Kerguelen Plateau
1Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer (UMS 3113), Laboratoire des Sciences de l'Environnement MARin (UMR 6539), 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 (UMR 5566), 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, strong sedimentary Co inputs were estimated to be much higher than biological Co uptake in phytoplankton blooms, underlining the potential role of cobalt as lithogenic tracer. 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 Co as a tracer of basalt sources is estimated to be 28 × 102 ± 21 × 102 ton yr−1 in surface waters of the Kerguelen Plateau. This estimate is consistent with preceding ones and the required iron supply matching the phytoplankton demand.