Sources and reaction pathways of soluble Fe from the Western Antarctic Peninsula to the Southern Ocean


Professorin Dr. Sabine Kasten 
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

Professor Dr. Michael Staubwasser 
Universität zu Köln
Department für Geowissenschaften
Institut für Geologie und Mineralogie


The objective of this study is to reveal sources and mechanisms responsible for high supply of soluble Fe in regions close to ocean islands in the otherwise HPLC Southern Ocean with the common effect of stimulating plankton growth. The focus of this study will be on King George Island (KGI), Western Antarctic Peninsula. Fe isotopes from glacial outwash material, shelf sediments and porewaters, and transects of water column profiles together with full diagenetic inorganic geochemical profiling will be used to fingerprint Fe sources and supply pathways. In the light of rapid glacier retreat on KGI due to global warming and enhanced outwash of glacially eroded material, three possible reaction pathways will be investigated: 1) early diagenetic recycling of Fe and diffusion out of sediments fuelled by high productivity; 2) accumulation and resuspension of solid reactive Fe phases (including diagenetic Fe-oxyhydroxides) in surface sediments; 3) direct dissolution of reactive Fe minerals and Fe-rich silicates from glacial outwash. In order to address the dynamics of Fe supply pathways and a potential relationship to climate change, high outwash regions (Potter Cove, Maxwell Bay) will be compared with a low outwash region (Admiralty Bay).


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