Ph.D. Program in Oceanography and Global Change at the Canary Islands, Spain

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Lithogenic flows and Saharan dust plumes

The study of the dust inputs from the atmosphere to the ocean is focus on regional scale wind models, as well as on the analysis of lithogenic samples, collected both in the air and the open ocean. Particles size, shape and composition are key variables to obtain settling velocity. Mineral particle compositions determine the plume dust source. Mineral particles from Saharan desert are the result of weathering processes in hyper arid environments. Varnish desert is frequently detected by SEM-EDX image analysis of the Saharan dust particles. These coatings consist of clays, and high proportions of manganese and iron oxides, besides other trace metals. Lithogenic fluxes in Canary Basin provenance are manly aeolian Saharan dust. This mineral particles input in the ocean implies a nutrition potential and a complex interaction with plankton and carbon sequestration.

Responsible person: Inmaculada Menéndez