Journal of Marine Sciences ›› 2023, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (3): 56-72.DOI: 10.3969/j.issn.1001-909X.2023.03.006

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Clay mineral characteristics of sediments in the seamount basin of the Western Pacific and its indicative significance

DENG Tao1,2(), XU Dong1,2,*(), XIAO Tinglu1,2, YE Liming1,2, ZHANG Weiyan1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Submarine Geosciences, MNR, Hangzhou 310012, China
    2. Second Institute of Oceanography, MNR, Hangzhou 310012, China
  • Received:2022-10-31 Revised:2023-03-21 Online:2023-09-15 Published:2023-10-24


The clay mineral assemblage in abyssal sediments can reflect the paleoclimate and paleoenvironment changes of the provenance area. Predecessors have many studies about the characteristics of clay mineral assemblages in the Pacific sediments west of the Mariana Trench, but the less research on the characteristics of clay mineral assemblages in the east of the Mariana Trench limits a deeper understanding of the relationship between the Asian aeolian dust input and the Pacific deep-sea sedimentary environment. In this study, 31 surface samples and 1 core sample collected in the Malkus-Wake Seamount area of the Western Pacific during the 2019 DY54 cruise were analyzed for clay minerals, combined with the data collected in the Western Pacific and nearby areas, we discussed the characteristics of composition, distribution and the provenance of clay minerals. The results showed that illite was the main clay mineral in surface sediments of the study area, with an average value of 69%; the content of chlorite and kaolinite were the second, with an average of 16% and 11% respectively; that of smectite was the least, with an average of 3%. In the core P04, the assemblage of the clay mineral was basically the same as surface samples, but below 250 cm depth, the content of smectite increased significantly, while the content of illite decreased relatively. Provenance analysis showed that Asian aeolian dust was the main source of illite in the study area, and kaolinite and chlorite might also be from Asian aeolian dust, and the East Asian winter monsoon was the main transport force of these clay minerals. The smectite in sediments could be mainly formed by weathering of submarine volcanic materials. The increase of illite content while the decrease of smectite content in the upper layer of core P04 sediment was responded to the increase of Asian aeolian dust input since the Middle Pleistocene.

Key words: Western Pacific, clay minerals, aeolian deposition, provenance

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