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“Mobile mud” (MM), which has fine grain size distribution (>90% clay + silt, and <5% sand) and high porosity (≥0.50), plays an important role in the biogeochemical cycles in the estuarine areas and the inshore shelf. A suite of MM samples from the coastal area of the East China Sea (ECS) was collected in spring and summer of 2011 to observe their spatial and temporal distribution, grain size, and radionuclides concentrations. The MM thickness ranged from 0.5 to 11 cm (average: 2.2 cm (May) and 3.9 cm (August)). The thick mud layer is mainly distributed along the coast, with an area of 2.2 × 104 km2 in May and 1.5 × 104 km2 in August, with corresponding masses of 8.8 × 108 and 7.8 × 108 t, respectively. The estimated masses of MM are considerably larger than the annual sediment discharge mass of the Changjiang River. The distribution of 137Cs inventories in MM indicates that 137Cs can be effectively utilized as a transport tracer of MM in the river‐dominated estuaries and coastal areas. The higher inventories of 7Be in MM in the river mouth in spring are attributed to higher depositional flux and higher sediment discharge. The ratio of the MM inventory of 234Thex/production in the overlying water column of >2.5 in south inshore indicates that the sediment focusing resulted in the increased mass flux. The residence time of MM is estimated as 3–6 years both by mass balance of MM and 210Pbex in MM.




Wang, J., J.Z. Du, M. Baskaran and J. Zhang, 2016. Mobile mud dynamics in the East China Sea elucidated using 210Pb, 137Cs, 7Be and 234Th as tracers. Jour. Geophys. Res. 121(1), 224-239.

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