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  • Closed Access
    Authors: 
    J. O. de Morais; M. Tintelnot; Georg Irion; L. Souza Pinheiro;
    Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC

    The transport pathways of fine sediments (fraction <2 μm) along the Brazilian continental shelf from Ceara to the Amazon River mouth were studied by means of clay mineral analyses. On the continental shelf southeast of the Amazon mouth, fluctuations in clay mineral compositions reflect simple mixing between the suspended load of the North Brazil Current and sediment from several smaller rivers. Previously, clay mineral variations west of the Amazon mouth have been explained by variable settling velocities of different grain-size classes within the <2 μm fraction or by selective coagulation of individual clay mineral groups. By contrast, our experiments with river bank samples show that selective coagulation does not occur in Amazon River sediments. A more appropriate explanation for observed variations in clay mineral composition off the Amazon mouth seems to be, similarly to that for the shelf between Ceara and the Amazon mouth, a mixing of Amazon sediments with suspended material of the North Brazil Current. This interpretation is supported by data on clay mineral composition east and south of the Amazon mouth, showing more affinity to sediments of the North Brazil Current than to the suspended load of the Amazon River. Additionally, relatively low sedimentation rates and low concentrations of fine-grained sediments on the shelf suggest that high riverine input by the Amazon River does not overprint the sediments of the North Brazil Current in this region. The strong North Brazil Current shunts the Amazon suspended load in a north-westerly direction along the north-eastern coast of South America. Hence, stronger sedimentation of Amazon sediments would occur only west of the river mouth.

Include:
1 Research products, page 1 of 1
  • Closed Access
    Authors: 
    J. O. de Morais; M. Tintelnot; Georg Irion; L. Souza Pinheiro;
    Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC

    The transport pathways of fine sediments (fraction <2 μm) along the Brazilian continental shelf from Ceara to the Amazon River mouth were studied by means of clay mineral analyses. On the continental shelf southeast of the Amazon mouth, fluctuations in clay mineral compositions reflect simple mixing between the suspended load of the North Brazil Current and sediment from several smaller rivers. Previously, clay mineral variations west of the Amazon mouth have been explained by variable settling velocities of different grain-size classes within the <2 μm fraction or by selective coagulation of individual clay mineral groups. By contrast, our experiments with river bank samples show that selective coagulation does not occur in Amazon River sediments. A more appropriate explanation for observed variations in clay mineral composition off the Amazon mouth seems to be, similarly to that for the shelf between Ceara and the Amazon mouth, a mixing of Amazon sediments with suspended material of the North Brazil Current. This interpretation is supported by data on clay mineral composition east and south of the Amazon mouth, showing more affinity to sediments of the North Brazil Current than to the suspended load of the Amazon River. Additionally, relatively low sedimentation rates and low concentrations of fine-grained sediments on the shelf suggest that high riverine input by the Amazon River does not overprint the sediments of the North Brazil Current in this region. The strong North Brazil Current shunts the Amazon suspended load in a north-westerly direction along the north-eastern coast of South America. Hence, stronger sedimentation of Amazon sediments would occur only west of the river mouth.

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