|Distribution, organic content and particle size of suspended matter in the North Sea|
Eisma, D.; Kalf, J. (1987). Distribution, organic content and particle size of suspended matter in the North Sea. Neth. J. Sea Res. 21(4): 265-285
In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579, more
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Data on suspended matter concentrations and the organic content of the suspended matter for January 1980 showed a division in the North Sea between the southern North Sea (high suspended matter concentrations, but relatively low organic content) and the central and northern North Sea (low suspended matter concentrations, but relatively high organic content). The Skagerrak, which receives suspended matter from the southern as well as from the central and northern North Sea, took up an intermediate position. In summer suspended matter concentrations were lower than in winter but more variable, in concentration as well as in organic content, because of admixtures of particulate matter from primary production. On deposition of the suspended matter, a considerable part of the organic matter was apparently lost (in the order of 75% or more), resulting in low organic-matter concentrations of fine-grained bottom deposits. Particle size distributions followed two main types: one (A) with a sharp peak at 30 to 100 µm, and one (B) bell-shaped with a peak at 5 to 15 µm. Type A occurred in deeper water and consisted of particles with a high organic-matter content, type B occurred in shallow areas and consisted of particles with a low organic-matter content. The suspended particles were mainly microflocs of mineral particles and organic matter. The mineral particles of both types were predominantly of 2 to 5 µm size, which was determined after oxidation of the organic matter. It is concluded that particles of type-B distributions are regularly exchanged with the bottom through deposition and resuspension, which results in low organic-matter contents and prevents the microflocs reaching large sizes. Particles of type-A distributions, on the contrary, can reach much larger sizes, because mostly they remain in suspension and do not lose organic matter, so that they do not easily fall apart.