Clay-mineral distribution in recent deep-sea sediments around Taiwan: Implications for sediment dispersal processes

Kalyani Nayak, Andrew Tien Shun Lin, Kuo Fang Huang, Zhifei Liu, Nathalie Babonneau, Gueorgui Ratzov, Radha Krishna Pillutla, Prabodha Das, Shu Kun Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Clay-mineralogy study of Taiwanese river-mouth sediments, recent deep-water seafloor sediments around Taiwan, along with sediments collected from the Tainan shelf edge, have been investigated to access the source and transport of detrital fine-grained sediments. We determined the clay mineralogy in both hemipelagites and turbidites in the top 50 cm of the deep-sea sediment cores to infer how sediments are dispersed through river-fed turbidity currents, hypopycnal plumes, and oceanic currents. Our results show that the clay mineral assemblages in both hemipelagites and turbidites of different provinces change gradually between two major end-members: illite+chlorite and smectite. They are predominantly sourced from Taiwan and Luzon, respectively. The relative abundances of clay minerals in turbidites and hemipelagites are quite similar in most of the cores. Therefore, we argue that the adjacent turbidites and hemipelagites of a core share common detrital clay sources. We found that smectite is relatively abundant around Taiwan, indicating that the Kuroshio Current is an important transportation system, which brings smectite from Luzon. Besides, the river-related canyon systems consist dominantly of illite and chlorite, and less smectite, indicating that the smectite brought about by the Kuroshio Current is diluted by river-fed hyperpycnal and hypopycnal flows. This also implies that flood-induced turbidity currents are efficient agents for transporting Taiwan-derived sediments into the neighboring deep-sea basins.

Original languageEnglish
Article number228974
StatePublished - 5 Sep 2021


  • Clay minerals
  • Kuroshio current
  • Luzon
  • Provenance
  • River-fed turbidity currents
  • Taiwan


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