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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: model description paper 09 Oct 2020

Submitted as: model description paper | 09 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Model of Early Diagenesis in the Upper Sediment with Adaptable complexity – MEDUSA (v. 2): a time-dependent biogeochemical sediment module for Earth System Models, process analysis and teaching

Guy Munhoven Guy Munhoven
  • Dépt. d’Astrophysique, Géophysique et Océanographie, Université de Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium

Abstract. MEDUSA is a time-dependent one-dimensional numerical model of coupled early diagenetic processes in the surface seafloor sediment. In the vertical, the sediment is subdivided into two different zones. Solids (biogenic, mineral, etc.) raining down from the surface of the ocean are collected by the reactive mixed layer at the top. This is where chemical reactions take place. Solids are transported by bioturbation and advection, solutes by diffusion and bioirrigation. The classical coupled time-dependent early diagenesis equations (advection-diffusion reaction equations) are used to describe the evolutions of the solid and solute components here. Solids that get transported deeper than the bottom boundary of the reactive mixed layer enter the second zone underneath, where reactions and mixing are neglected. Gradually as solid material gets transferred here from the overlying reactive layer, it is buried and preserved in a stack of layers that make up a synthetic sediment core.

MEDUSA has been extensively modified since its first release from 2007. The composition of the two phases, the processes (chemical reactions) and chemical equilibria between solutes are not fixed any more, but get assembled from a set of XML based description files that are processed by a code generator to produce the required Fortran code. 1D, 2D and 2D × 2D interfaces have been introduced to facilitate the coupling to common grid configurations and material compositions used in biogeochemical models. MEDUSA can also be run in parallel computing environments using the Message Passing Interface (MPI).

Guy Munhoven

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Guy Munhoven


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Latest update: 23 Oct 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Sea-floor sediments play an important role for biogeochemical cycling of elements (e.g., carbon, silicon, nutrients,...) in the ocean. Realistic sediment modules are, however, not yet commonly used in global ocean biogeochemical models. Here we present MEDUSA, a model of the processes taking place in the surface sea-floor sediments and which control the interaction between the sediments and the ocean. MEDUSA can be configured to meet the exact needs of any given ocean biogeochemical model.
Sea-floor sediments play an important role for biogeochemical cycling of elements (e.g., carbon,...