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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2017-353
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2017-353
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 28 Aug 2017

Submitted as: research article | 28 Aug 2017

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

Organic and inorganic carbon and their stable isotopes in surface sediments of the Yellow River Estuary

Zhitong Yu1, Xiujun Wang1, Guangxuan Han2, Xingqi Liu3, and Enlou Zhang4 Zhitong Yu et al.
  • 1College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, P.R. China
  • 2Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai, Shandong 264003, P.R. China
  • 3College of Resource Environment and Tourism, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, P.R. China
  • 4State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, P.R. China

Abstract. Estuarine sediment is an important carbon reservoir, and thus may play an important role in the global carbon cycle. The Yellow River Estuary is a large estuary in northern China, having implications for the Bohai Sea's carbon cycle. However, little is known about carbon dynamics in the sediment of the transitional zone near the river mouth. In this study, we collected 15 short sediment cores from the Yellow River Estuary, and measured grain size, total nitrogen (TN), total organic carbon (TOC) and inorganic carbon (TIC) and the isotopic compositions of TOC (δ13Corg) and carbonate (δ13Ccarb and δ18Ocarb). We found that TIC concentration (6.3–20.1 g kg−1) was much higher than TOC (0.2–4.4 g kg−1) in the surface sediment. Both TOC and TIC were higher to the north (2.6 and 14.5 g kg−1) than to the south (1.6 and 12.2 g kg−1), except in the southern bay where TOC and TIC reached 2.7 and 15.4 g kg−1, respectively. The δ13Corg value ranged narrowly from −24.26 ‰ to −22.66 ‰, indicating that TOC might be mainly autochthonous. However, C : N ratio varied from 2.1 to 10.1, with higher ratio found in the southern bay. We estimated that 60.8 % of TOC might be from terrigenous OC in the southern bay. The lower TOC values in the south section were due to relatively higher kinetic energy level whereas the higher values in the bay was attributable to terrigenous matters accumulation and lower kinetic energy level. There was a significantly positive correlation between TIC and TOC, indicating that TIC was primarily from autogenic carbonate. However, the southern bay revealed the most negative δ13Corg and δ13Ccarb, suggesting that there might exist some transfer of OC to IC in the section. Our study points out that the dynamics of sedimentary carbon in the Yellow River Estuary is influenced by multiple and complex processes, and highlights the importance of carbonate in carbon sequestration.

Zhitong Yu et al.
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Zhitong Yu et al.
Zhitong Yu et al.
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