Calcium isotope evidence for suppression of carbonate dissolution in carbonate-bearing organic-rich sediments

Turchyn, Alexandra V. and DePaolo, Donald J. (2011) Calcium isotope evidence for suppression of carbonate dissolution in carbonate-bearing organic-rich sediments. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 75 (22). pp. 7081-7098. DOI

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Pore fluid calcium isotope, calcium concentration and strontium concentration data are used to measure the rates of diagenetic dissolution and precipitation of calcite in deep-sea sediments containing abundant clay and organic material. This type of study of deep-sea sediment diagenesis provides unique information about the ultra-slow chemical reactions that occur in natural marine sediments that affect global geochemical cycles and the preservation of paleo-environmental information in carbonate fossils. For this study, calcium isotope ratios (δ44/40Ca) of pore fluid calcium from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Sites 984 (North Atlantic) and 1082 (off the coast of West Africa) were measured to augment available pore fluid measurements of calcium and strontium concentration. Both study sites have high sedimentation rates and support quantitative sulfate reduction, methanogenesis and anaerobic methane oxidation. The pattern of change of δ44/40Ca of pore fluid calcium versus depth at Sites 984 and 1082 differs markedly from that of previously studied deep-sea Sites like 590B and 807, which are composed of nearly pure carbonate sediment. In the 984 and 1082 pore fluids, δ44/40Ca remains elevated near seawater values deep in the sediments, rather than shifting rapidly toward the δ44/40Ca of carbonate solids. This observation indicates that the rate of calcite dissolution is far lower than at previously studied carbonate-rich sites. The data are fit using a numerical model, as well as more approximate analytical models, to estimate the rates of carbonate dissolution and precipitation and the relationship of these rates to the abundance of clay and organic material. Our models give mutually consistent results and indicate that calcite dissolution rates at Sites 984 and 1082 are roughly two orders of magnitude lower than at previously studied carbonate-rich sites, and the rate correlates with the abundance of clay. Our calculated rates are conservative for these sites (the actual rates could be significantly slower) because other processes that impact the calcium isotope composition of sedimentary pore fluid have not been included. The results provide direct geochemical evidence for the anecdotal observation that the best-preserved carbonate fossils are often found in clay or organic-rich sedimentary horizons. The results also suggest that the presence of clay minerals has a strong passivating effect on the surfaces of biogenic carbonate minerals, slowing dissolution dramatically even in relation to the already-slow rates typical of carbonate-rich sediments.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2011AREP; IA63;
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Journal or Publication Title: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Volume: 75
Page Range: pp. 7081-7098
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2011 12:32
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:02

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