Articles | Volume 10, issue 8
27 Apr 2010
 | 27 Apr 2010

Volcanic ash as fertiliser for the surface ocean

B. Langmann, K. Zakšek, M. Hort, and S. Duggen

Abstract. Iron is a key limiting micro-nutrient for marine primary productivity. It can be supplied to the ocean by atmospheric dust deposition. Volcanic ash deposition into the ocean represents another external and so far largely neglected source of iron. This study demonstrates strong evidence for natural fertilisation in the iron-limited oceanic area of the NE Pacific, induced by volcanic ash from the eruption of Kasatochi volcano in August 2008. Atmospheric and oceanic conditions were favourable to generate a massive phytoplankton bloom in the NE Pacific Ocean which for the first time strongly suggests a connection between oceanic iron-fertilisation and volcanic ash supply.

Final-revised paper