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Ocean mixing in deep-sea trenches: New insights from the Challenger Deep, Mariana Trench
van Haren, H.; Berndt, C.; Klaucke, I. (2017). Ocean mixing in deep-sea trenches: New insights from the Challenger Deep, Mariana Trench. Deep-Sea Res., Part 1, Oceanogr. Res. Pap. 129: 1-9.
In: Deep-Sea Research, Part I. Oceanographic Research Papers. Elsevier: Oxford. ISSN 0967-0637; e-ISSN 1879-0119, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    New deepest point estimate; Challenger Deep; Mariana Trench; Improved deep CTD observations; Turbulence parameter estimates; Inertio-gravity tidal wave propagation

Authors  Top 
  • van Haren, H., more
  • Berndt, C.
  • Klaucke, I.

    Reliable very deep shipborne SBE 911plus Conductivity Temperature Depth (CTD) data to within 60 m from the bottom and Kongsberg EM122 0.5° × 1° multibeam echosounder data are collected in the Challenger Deep, Mariana Trench. A new position and depth are given for the deepest point in the world's ocean. The data provide insight into the interplay between topography and internal waves in the ocean that lead to mixing of the lowermost water masses on Earth. Below 5000 m, the vertical density stratification is weak, with a minimum buoyancy frequency N = 1.0 ± 0.6 cpd, cycles per day, between 6500 and 8500 m. In that depth range, the average turbulence is coarsely estimated from Thorpe-overturning scales, with limited statistics to be ten times higher than the mean values of dissipation rate εT = 3 ± 2 × 10–11 m2 s−3 and eddy diffusivity KzT = 2 ± 1.5 × 10−4 m2 s−1 estimated for the depth range between 10,300 and 10,850 m, where N = 2.5 ± 0.6 cpd. Inertial and meridionally directed tidal inertio-gravity waves can propagate between the differently stratified layers. These waves are suggested to be responsible for the observed turbulence. The turbulence values are similar to those recently estimated from CTD and moored observations in the Puerto Rico Trench. Yet, in contrast to the Puerto Rico Trench, seafloor morphology in the Mariana Trench shows up to 500 m-high fault scarps on the incoming tectonic plate and a very narrow trench, suggesting that seafloor topography does not play a crucial role for mixing.

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