Deep-sea plastic accumulations by turbidity currents: NW South China sea

Date: January 27, 2021

Author: Geological Society of America

Benthic plastic litter is a main source of pollutants in oceans, but how it disperses is largely unknown. This study by Guangfa Zhong and Xiaotong Peng, published today in Geology, presents novel findings on the distribution patterns and dispersion mechanisms of deep-sea plastic waste in a submarined canyon located in the northwestern South China Sea.

Evidence collected from a series of manned submersible dives indicate that the plastic litter items transported and deposited in the canyon are most likely controlled by turbidity currents. Here the plastic litter items are highly heterogeneously distributed: Up to 89% of them occur in a few scours of the canyon.

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