Radiocarbon-derived sedimentation rates in the Gulf of Mexico
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Sedimentation rates were determined for the northern Gulf of Mexico margin sediments at water depths ranging from 770 to 3560 m, using radiocarbon determinations of organic matter. Resulting sedimentation rates ranged from 3 to 15 cm/kyr, decreasing with increasing water depth. These rates agree with long-term sedimentation rates estimated previously using stratigraphic methods, and with estimates of sediment delivery rates by the Mississippi River to the northern Gulf of Mexico, but are generally higher by 1-2 orders of magnitude than those estimated by 210Pbxs methods. Near-surface slope sediments from 2737 m water depth in the Mississippi River fan were much older than the rest. They had minimum 14C ages of 16-27 kyr and 13C values ranging from -24 to -26.5, indicating a terrestrial origin of organic matter. The sediments from this site were thus likely deposited by episodic mass wasting of slope sediment through the canyon, delineating the previously suggested main pathway of sediment and clay movement to abyssal Gulf sediments. 2008.