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Minimal biomass deposition in banded iron formations inferred from organic matter and clay relationships

Dodd, MS; Papineau, D; Pirajno, F; Wan, Y; Karhu, JA; (2019) Minimal biomass deposition in banded iron formations inferred from organic matter and clay relationships. Nature Communications , 10 (1) , Article 5022. 10.1038/s41467-019-12975-z. Green open access

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Abstract

The cycling of iron and organic matter (OM) is thought to have been a major biogeochemical cycle in the early ferruginous oceans which contributed to the deposition of banded iron formations (BIF). However, BIF are deficient in OM, which is postulated to be the result of near-complete oxidation of OM during iron reduction. We test this idea by documenting the prevalence of OM in clays within BIF and clays in shales associated with BIF. We find in shales >80% of OM occurs in clays, but <1% occurs in clays within BIF. Instead, in BIF OM occurs with 13C-depleted carbonate and apatite, implying OM oxidation occurred. Conversely, BIF which possess primary clays would be expected to preserve OM in clays, yet this is not seen. This implies OM deposition in silicate-bearing BIF would have been minimal, this consequently stifled iron-cycling and primary productivity through the retention of nutrients in the sediments.

Type: Article
Title: Minimal biomass deposition in banded iron formations inferred from organic matter and clay relationships
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-12975-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12975-z
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10085743
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