Abstract

The clay mineralogy and elemental chemistry of soil and sediment samples from a small area of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago were examined. The clay mineralogy reflects a largely physical weathering regime. Some important results of the chemical analyses are: (1) Sedimentation rates of manganese in the Arctic near-shore sediments are similar to those reported for pelagic sediments from other oceans. Manganese in the Arctic sediments does not appear to be derived locally, the most likely source being water which originates in the North Atlantic. (2) Mineral-water reactions that occur during the transition from the terrestrial to the marine environment are limited to ion-exchange reactions. The potassium: rubidium ratio of the sediments is higher than that of the source-area soils. In contrast to findings in temperature and tropical areas, little or no boron is taken up by terrestrial clays as they enter the marine environment in the polar region studied. (3) New data are presented for mercury, palladium, and gold in near-shore sediments. The values found are 30, 2.1, and 2.7 parts per billion, respectively.

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