Manganese and iron are redox-sensitive elements that yield clues about biogeochemistry and redox conditions both in modern environments and in the geologic past. Here, we investigated Mn and Fe-bearing minerals preserved in basin sediments underlying Fayetteville Green Lake, a redox-stratified lake that serves as a geochemical analogue for Paleoproterozoic oceans. Synchrotron-source microprobe techniques (μXRF, μXANES, and μXRD) and bulk geochemical analyses were used to examine the microscale distribution and speciation of Mn, Fe, and S as a function of depth in the top 48 cm of anoxic lake sediments. Manganese was primarily associated with calcite grains as a manganese-rich carbonate that precipitated in the chemocline of the water column and settled through the euxinic basin to collect in lake sediments. Iron was preserved in framboidal iron sulfides that precipitated in euxinic bottom waters and underwent transformation to pyrite and marcasite in the sediments. Previous studies attribute the formation of manganese-rich carbonates to the diagenetic alteration of manganese oxides deposited in basins underlying oxygenated water. Our study challenges this paradigm by providing evidence that Mn-bearing carbonates form in the water column and accumulate in sediments below anoxic waters. Consequently, manganoan carbonates preserved in the rock record do not necessarily denote the presence of oxygenated bottom waters in ocean basins.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology