Sediment reworking rates in deep sediments of the Mediterranean Sea

M. Barsanti, I. Delbono, A. Schirone, L. Langone, S. Miserocchi, S. Salvi, R. Delfanti

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Different pelagic areas of the Mediterranean Sea have been investigated in order to quantify physical and biological mixing processes in deep sea sediments. Herein, results of eleven sediment cores sampled at different deep areas (>2000 m) of the Western and Eastern Mediterranean Sea are presented.210Pbxsand137Cs vertical profiles, together with14C dating, are used to identify the main processes characterising the different areas and, finally, controlling mixing depths (SML) and bioturbation coefficients (Db). Radionuclide vertical profiles and inventories indicate that bioturbation processes are the dominant processes responsible for sediment reworking in deep sea environments.Results show significant differences in sediment mixing depths and bioturbation coefficients among areas of the Mediterranean Sea characterised by different trophic regimes. In particular, in the Oran Rise area, where the Almeria-Oran Front induces frequent phytoplankton blooms, we calculate the highest values of sediment mixing layers (13cm) and bioturbation coefficients (0.187cm2yr-1), and the highest values of210Pbxsand137Cs inventories. Intermediate values of SML and Db(~6cm and ~0.040cm2yr-1, respectively) characterise the mesothrophic Algero-Balearic basin, while in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea mixing parameters (SML of 3cm and Dbof 0.011cm2yr-1) are similar to those calculated for the oligotrophic Eastern Mediterranean (SML of 2cm and Dbof ~0.005cm2yr-1). © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2959 - 2970
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

Cite this

Barsanti, M., Delbono, I., Schirone, A., Langone, L., Miserocchi, S., Salvi, S., & Delfanti, R. (2011). Sediment reworking rates in deep sediments of the Mediterranean Sea. Science of the Total Environment, 409(15), 2959 - 2970.