Protactinium-231 and Thorium-230 Abundances and High Scavenging Rates in the Western Arctic Ocean

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Abstract

The Canadian Basin of the Arctic Ocean, largely ice covered and isolated from deep contact with the more dynamic Eurasian Basin by the Lomonosov Ridge, has historically been considered an area of low productivity and particle flux and sluggish circulation.High-sensitivity mass-spectrometric measurements of the naturally occurring radionuclides protactinium-231 and thorium-230 in the deep Canada Basin and on the adjacent shelf indicate high particle fluxes and scavenging rates in this region. The thorium-232 data suggest that offshore advection of particulate material from the shelves contributes to scavenging of reactive materials in areas of permanent ice cover.

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