Oxygen penetration depths and fluxes in marine sediments Academic Article uri icon


  • A compilation of numerous studies of oxygen profiles in marine sediments and estimated fluxes across the sediment-water interface supports the existence of a simple relationship between oxygen penetration depth (L), benthic oxygen flux (F-O2(0)), and bottom water oxygen concentration([O-2](BW)). This relationship is: L = 2 phi D-s [O-2](BW)/F-O2(0), where phi and D-s are the porosity and diffusivity of O-2 in sediment, respectively. The relationship holds well for continental margin environments, but not in open ocean basins. The success of this simple relationship in describing continental margin field data suggests that the pore water profiles are at steady state, the depth distribution and reactivity of organic carbon is nearly uniform, and pore water irrigation is generally negligible. This work also demonstrates the consistency of the data recently collected by several independent works.

publication date

  • April 1996