Mobility of authigenic rhenium, silver, and selenium during postdepositional oxidation in marine sediments
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Sedimentary records of redox-sensitive trace elements hold significant potential as indicators of paleoceanographic environmental conditions. Records of Re can reveal the intensity of past reducing conditions in sediments at the time of deposition (Crusius et al., 1996), while records of Ag may record the magnitude of past diatom fluxes to the seafloor. Confidence in paleoenvironmental reconstruction from records of either metal, however, requires it to have experienced negligible redistribution since deposition. This study examines diagenetic re-arrangements of Re and Ag that occur in response to exposure to bottom-water O2 in environments of low sedimentation rate, including Madeira Abyssal Plain turbidites and eastern Mediterranean basin sapropels. Authigenic Re was remobilized quantitatively by oxidation, but poorly retained by the underlying sediments. All records are consistent with previous work demonstrating that only a limited re-immobilization of Re occurs preferentially in Corg-rich, reducing sediments (Crusius and Thomson, 2000). Silver was also mobilized quantitatively by oxidation, but was subsequently immobilized more efficiently in all cases as sharp peaks immediately into anoxic conditions below active oxidation fronts, and these peaks remain immobile in anoxic conditions during long-term burial. Comparison of Ag, S and Se records from various cores suggests that Ag is likely to have been immobilized as a selenide, a mechanism previously proposed for Hg in similar situations (Mercone et al., 1999). Coexisting narrow peaks of Ag and Hg with Se offer a means of assessing whether oxidative burndown has ever occurred at the top of Corg- and sulfide-rich sedimentary units. While these results suggest that caution must be used when inferring paleoenvironmental information from records of Ag and Re in cores with low sediment accumulation rates (<5 cm ka-1), they should not affect the promise that authigenic Ag and Re records hold for paleoenvironmental reconstruction in sediments with higher accumulation rates and where anoxic conditions have been maintained continuously.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2002. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 67 (2003): 265-273, doi:10.1016/S0016-7037(02)01075-X.