Resuspension measured with sediment traps in a high-energy environment Academic Article uri icon


  • The near-bottom sedimentation rates were measured by placing cylindrical sediment traps 10 m above the sea floor on each of six moorings deployed between 4100 and 5100 m along a transect across an energetic deep-sea current in the HEBBLE area centered at 40N, 63W on the Nova Scotian Rise. Sedimentation rates above the sea floor were monitored with additional traps at 23, 54, 100, 200 and 500 m above the bottom (mab) on the mooring at 4950 m. The total flux at 500 mab for the two-week period, consisting mostly of primary particles from surface water, was 166 mg/m2 day and increased exponentially towards the bottom. The total flux at 10 mab increased down slope from 1160 mg/m2 day at 4158 m where the mean current speed was 8 cm/s to a maximum of 77,300 mg/m2 day at 5022 m where the mean current speed was 32 cm/s, then decreased to 59,400 mg/m2 day at the mooring at 5076 m. The size frequency distributions of large, discrete particles such as foraminifera, diatoms, radiolarians and fecal pellets were quantified in all trap samples to examine whether the large variation in fluxes was due to artifacts such as current velocity or trap tilt. Based on the source, persistence and distribution of these particles, we conclude that the large variations in fluxes across the rise and with distance from the sea floor are due primarily to resuspension and resettling of bottom sediments, with tilt and current effects on trapping having only a secondary effect. The vertical gradients of large-particle fluxes suggest effective vertical eddy diffusivities of 102-104 cm2/s using a two-dimensional model. Horizontal advection and secondary circulation probably play a large role in moving large, rapidly falling (up to 1 cm/s) particles to a height of 50-100 m above the sea floor. 1983.

published proceedings

  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters

author list (cited authors)

  • Gardner, W. D., Richardson, M. J., Hinga, K. R., & Biscaye, P. E.

citation count

  • 61

complete list of authors

  • Gardner, WD||Richardson, MJ||Hinga, KR||Biscaye, PE

publication date

  • December 1983