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Microbial mat development and dolomite formation under pre-evaporitic conditions during the Atlantic in a temperate area: The Sarliève Lake (French Massif Central)

Abstract : The Sarliève marsh in the Limagne plain, in the heart of the French Massif Central, functioned as an endorheic lake during the Late Glacial and the Early and Middle Holocene. During the Late Boreal and the Atlantic it experienced drastic lowering of the water level as a result of dry and warm climatic episodes. Then, pre-evaporitic conditions triggered the deposition of sediment rich in organic matter (OM) and in carbonates including dolomite. Fifty-one samples from a ca. 1.8 m sediment core section covering the period were analysed using Rock-Eval pyrolysis and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Throughout the interval, the OM content remained notable to high [up to 13.35% total organic carbon (TOC)] and of good quality as indicated by low oxygen index (OI) values (<200 mg CO2 g−1 TOC) and high hydrogen index (HI) values (160-660 mg HC g−1) which, as a rule, increased with increasing TOC content. In contrast to the acid fractions, which sometimes contained notable proportions of n-C16 or n-C18 fatty acids (FAs; analysed as the methyl esters, FAMEs), the neutral fractions were almost devoid of low molecular weight compounds. The latter were probably biodegraded during early diagenesis. Conversely, high molecular weight compounds were abundant in both fractions and were dominated by n-alkanols, n-alkanes, steroids and hopanoids in the neutrals and even numbered FAs and hopanoids in the acid fractions. The hopanoids were dominated by regular bishomohopanoids, accompanied by 2-methylated bishomohopanoids, as well as by unidentified bishomohopanoids with methylation in either the D or E ring. These distributions, typical for bacteria, provide support for previous hypotheses on the contribution of microorganisms to the studied record and for providing conditions for the precipitation and growth of dolomite and other pristine carbonate minerals [Bréheret, J.G., Fourmont, A., Macaire, J.J., Négrel, Ph., 2008. Microbially mediated carbonates in the Holocene lacustrine deposits of the Marais de Sarliève (French Massif Central) testify to the evolution of a restricted environment. Sedimentology 55, 557-578]. The preservation of the compounds was probably ensured by persistent reducing conditions during diagenesis, despite variable climatic conditions and related changes in lake level and sedimentation rate. Comparable distributions of hopanoic acids and hopanols, as well as roughly parallel variation with depth in the corresponding components in both fractions, strongly suggest that all the hopanoids derive from the same microbial precursors, slight shifts in the acid/alcohol ratio being governed by limited changes in redox conditions during early diagenesis.
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Jean-Robert Disnar, Maya Stefanova, Jean-Gabriel Bréhéret, Jean-Jacques Macaire. Microbial mat development and dolomite formation under pre-evaporitic conditions during the Atlantic in a temperate area: The Sarliève Lake (French Massif Central). Organic Geochemistry, Elsevier, 2011, 42 (9), pp.1089-1098. ⟨10.1016/j.orggeochem.2011.06.015⟩. ⟨insu-00616301⟩

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