Earth and Planetary Science
EPS Planetary Science

APR 2008 - New source of iron in the Western North Pacific

EPS faculty member Jim Bishop and Phoebe Lam, former graduate student and now an assistant scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, are challenging the theory that almost all iron for fertilizing oceanic plankton blooms comes from wind-blow dust. In a recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters (reprint) they show that the key source of iron in the Western North Pacific is not dust, but the volcanic shelf sediments of the Kuril - Kamchatka island arc system. Understanding the origins, transport mechanisms and fate of naturally occurring iron in high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll surface waters is important in climate change calculations.