< sup> 210 Po and < sup> 210 Pb distributions and residence times in the nearshore region of Lake Superior

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The naturally occurring radionuclide, 210pb, and its decay daughter, 210Po, were measured in the Keweenaw Peninsula region of Lake Superior. Water, suspended particles, sediment trap material (settling particles), and sediment cores and grab samples were collected along three transects that stretched from 1 to 20 km from shore. Departures from secular equilibrium (activity ratio of 2 10Po:210Pb - 1) were observed for most samples. 210Po-deficiency was observed in both suspended particles (TSP) with a ratio of 0.43 ± 0.05 (±95% confidence interval (CI)) and settling particles with a ratio of 0.57 ± 0.04; higher ratios in the settling particles resulted from an admixture of resuspended sediments. Ratios in the dissolved phase were 0.45 ± 0.12. Approximately 83% and 85% of total 210Po and 210Pb in the water column was in the particulate phase. No evidence of biological uptake of Po was found. Seasonal and spatial variability in activities and ratios was small. Using steady state solutions to the mass balance equations for both isotopes, similar residence times in the water column were calculated for 210Po and 21Pb (55 ∼ 75 days in a 150-m-deep water column). It was possible to calibrate a one-box model for the paired isotopes so that the model output closely matched rates of sediment and isotope resuspension estimated from sediment traps. However, this calibration required a fractionation of the isotopes during resuspension. The particle settling velocity was estimated to be 2.3 m d-1, which also is in agreement with the estimate (2.4 ± 2.2 m d -1) from sediment traps. These results indicate rapid fluxes of radioisotopes and sediments through the water column largely driven by resuspension of sediments in nearshore areas. Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union.

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Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans