Coral-inferred monsoon and biologically driven fractionation of offshore seawater rare earth elements in Beibu Gulf, northern South China Sea

Xiaohua Li, Yi Liu, Chung-Che Wu, Ruoyu Sun, Liugen Zheng, Mahjoor Ahmad Lone, Chuan-Chou Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present a monthly dataset (AD 2002–2005) of rare earth elements (REEs) recorded in Porites coral, which were obtained from the Weizhou Island (WZI), Beibu Gulf, northwest of South China Sea (SCS). This offshore coral shows a strong seasonal cycle in REE/Ca ratios, with enriched REEs (total REEs, 100~140 ppb) in winter and depleted REEs (40~60 ppb) in summer. Since the influence of the river discharge is limited to the river mouth, its contribution to the dissolved REEs is negligible for the offshore area of WZI. Given the similar seasonal pattern of Ba/Ca, we suggest that the remobilization of REEs from river-transported sediments on the shelf of SCS through winter monsoon-driven mixing is the major source of REEs to WZI. Moreover, the peak time of the Nd/Yb ratio (occurred in spring) is not coupled with the occurrence of the maximum REEs, which could mainly be attributed to the degradation of biogenic particles that causes more light REE released in comparison to heavy REE. The Ce anomaly also displays a distinct seasonality (i.e., enhanced anomaly in winter and summer and diminished anomaly in spring), likely reflecting the microbial oxidation activities driven by seasonal temperature and nutrient cycles. Large Gd anomaly (Gd/Gd* up to 1.7) recorded in coral skeletons is unlikely originated from the natural sources, but reflects anthropogenic activities through the recent excessive use of Gd complexes by magnetic resonance imaging of medical examination in this region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-141
Number of pages11
JournalSolid Earth Sciences
Volume4
Issue number4
Early online date28 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

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