Geochemical conditions regulating chromium preservation in marine sediments


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Geochemical conditions regulating chromium preservation in marine sediments
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Bruggmann Sylvie, Severmann Silke, McManus James
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In the marine sediment record, concentrations and isotope ratios of chromium (Cr) can be used to recon- struct ocean biogeochemical conditions. These reconstructions rely on a detailed understanding of the chemical pathways that Cr undergoes as it is transferred from the water column to the sediment record. We examined Cr concentrations in marine pore fluids and sediments from six continental margin sites, which can be grouped into two basic environments: (1) sites where sediments are oxygenated and rich in solid phase Mn (herein termed oxic), and (2) sites where sediments are organic C (Corg)-rich and oxy- gen is depleted (anoxic). We found Cr concentrations to be lower (maximum of 12 nM in pore fluids and 124 ppm sediment solid phase) at oxic sites compared with anoxic sites (maximum of 77 nM and 184 ppm). Our findings confirm previously published interpretations of dissolved Cr in pore fluids (Brumsack and Gieskes, 1983; Shaw et al., 1990). In oxic surface sediments, particulate Cr(III) can be oxi- dised by Mn oxides, which leads to elevated concentrations of dissolved Cr co-occurring at the same depth as elevated Mn concentrations in the sediment. Under these oxidising conditions, down-core sed- iments contain relatively low solid-phase Cr concentrations. In oxic sediments, Cr speciation reveals that most of the pore fluid Cr is in the Cr(VI) state. At the site where Mn oxide-rich sediments rest below an oxic water column, oxidative loss of Cr from the sediment to the bottom water leads to the lowest esti- mated Cr burial efficiency of the sites examined here. Under anoxic Corg-rich conditions, both pore fluids and sediment solid phases contain high Cr concentrations, with 40–80% of dissolved pore fluid Cr present as Cr(III). This enrichment of Cr appears to be tightly linked to the presence of high total organic carbon (TOC) content and scavenging of Cr by (organic) particles in the water column. Combined, these data highlight the strong dependence of Cr on both sedimentary redox conditions as well as biological produc- tivity. Based on the data from modern continental margin sediments, we propose that Cr concentrations and isotope compositions of the authigenic sediment fraction may record a combination of redox condi- tions and biological productivity in the water column. If confirmed by Cr isotope analyses, these findings will add support for the notion that Cr may serve as a proxy for ocean biological and chemical sedimen- tological conditions. Thus, careful assessment of the impact of organic matter on Cr is required for recon- structions of redox conditions with sedimentary records.
Geochemistry and Petrology
Open Access
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20/04/2023 12:20
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21/04/2023 5:52
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