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Pyritization processes and greigite formation in the advancing sulfidization front in the Upper Pleistocene sediments of the Black Sea

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Neretin,  L. N.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Böttcher,  M. E.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Jørgensen,  B. B.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Neretin, L. N., Böttcher, M. E., Jørgensen, B. B., Volkov, I. I., Luschen, H., & Hilgenfeldt, K. (2004). Pyritization processes and greigite formation in the advancing sulfidization front in the Upper Pleistocene sediments of the Black Sea. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 68(9), 2081-2093.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-D152-6
Abstract
Pyritization in late Pleistocene sediments of the Black Sea is driven by sulfide formed during anaerobic methane oxidation. A sulfidization front is formed by the opposing gradients of sulfide and dissolved iron. The sulfidization processes are controlled by the diffusion flux of sulfide from above and by the solid reactive iron content. Two processes of diffusion-limited pyrite formation were identified. The first process includes pyrite precipitation with the accumulation of iron sulfide precursors with the average chemical composition of FeSn (n = 1.10–1.29), including greigite. Elemental sulfur and polysulfides, formed from H2S by a reductive dissolution of Fe(III)-containing minerals, serve as intermediates to convert iron sulfides into pyrite. In the second process, a “direct” pyrite precipitation occurs through prolonged exposure of iron-containing minerals to dissolved sulfide. Methane-driven sulfate reduction at depth causes a progressive formation of pyrite with a δ34S of up to +15.0‰. The S-isotopic composition of FeS2 evolves due to contributions of different sulfur pools formed at different times. Steady-state model calculations for the advancement of the sulfidization front showed that the process started at the Pleistocene/Holocene transition between 6360 and 11 600 yr BP. Our study highlights the importance of anaerobic methane oxidation in generating and maintaining S-enriched layers in marine sediments and has paleoenvironmental implications.