A SEDIMENT TRAP INTERCOMPARISON EXPERIMENT IN THE PANAMA BASIN, 1979
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In order to compare the collection efficiency of settling particles among sediment traps in a variety of design concepts, 28 sediment traps of 11 different designs were deployed at six depths ranging from 665 to 3769 m along five rigid mooring anchored in a sill-protected marginal basin about 3865 m deep for about 4 months from August to November 1979. The traps represented three basic designs: (1) cylinders with an aspect ratio between 2 and 3; (2) funnels with a large opening covered by a baffle with a small grid and (3) open boxes whose openings were covered by a baffle. All but two of these types of participating traps had a mechanism to isolate the collected sample. Monitoring instruments indicate that all moorings provided a stable platform throughout the duration of Sediment Trap Intercomparison Experiment (STIE) with relatively low current velocity at the middle layers and very low velocity at the deep layers. Total mass flux, fluxes of three size fractions after water sieving, carbonate, combustible and noncombustible fractions, organic carbon, nitrogen and other sedimentary constituents in the individual samples were determined and evaluated with regard to the relative consistency in terms of depth and statistical tests on the similarity of the constituents. Under the conditions tested, the trapping efficiency of settling particles between a large funnel trap with baffle and an intermediate-sized cylinder trap was nearly identical considering the laboratory analytical errors. This conclusion might be extended to cylinder traps with diameters as small as 7 cm and a large aspect ratio when deployed rigidly in a low energy ocean environment. A funnel-type trap with a more effective baffle had a higher collecting efficiency than the other traps. Because of mechanical problems, comparison of the box-type traps to the other types was inconclusive. 1992.