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Riverine particulate organic carbon from an active mountain belt : importance of landslides.

Hilton, R. G. and Galy, A. and Hovius, N. (2008) 'Riverine particulate organic carbon from an active mountain belt : importance of landslides.', Global biogeochemical cycles., 22 . GB1017.

Abstract

We investigate the routing and transfer of particulate organic carbon (POC) from the western Southern Alps, New Zealand, using organic carbon (Corg) and nitrogen (Norg) concentrations and stable carbon isotopes (δ¹³Corg). In this active mountain belt, sediment discharge is dominated by landslide-derived material. Landsliding acts to homogenize the geochemically diverse hillslope POC, mixing POC from the standing biomass and soil with the fossil POC from bedrock. As a result, the POC in river sediment at the mountain front is a binary mixture of fossil and nonfossil carbon sourced from many landslide deposits. We calculate that nonfossil biogenic POC makes up 63 ± 7% of the total POC in the suspended load of rivers draining the western Southern Alps. The erosional flux of biogenic POC from these catchments represents a transfer of 39 tC km-² a-¹ of atmospheric CO₂ averaged over the west flank of the mountain belt. If more than 10% of this POC is preserved in sediments on geological timescales, then this process is the most significant way in which the Southern Alps and similar, tectonically active mountain belts with restricted alluvial aprons consume atmospheric CO₂.

Item Type:Article
Full text:PDF - Published Version (472Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2006GB002905
Publisher statement:© 2008 American Geophysical Union. Hilton, R. G. and Galy, A. and Hovius, N. (2008) 'Riverine particulate organic carbon from an active mountain belt : importance of landslides.', Global biogeochemical cycles., 22, GB1017, 10.1029/2006GB002905. To view the published open abstract, go to http://dx.doi.org and enter the DOI.
Record Created:09 Dec 2009 15:20
Last Modified:06 Dec 2011 09:41

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