Redox conditions in a coastal zone of the Humboldt System (Mejillones, 23° S). Influence on the preservation of redox-sensitive metals

Abstract : The distribution of, Co, Mo, Zn, Ni, Cd, U, Cu, Mn, V, Al, Fe, Ti, Total Organic Carbon (TOC) and Total Sulphur (TS) was studied in surface sediments accumulated at the upper limit of the oxygen minimum zone in the northern Humboldt Current (Mejillones Bay), using samples taken during two cruses in May 2002 and October 2004. The time series of dissolved oxygen revealed a seasonal fluctuation of the upper limit of the oxygen minimum zone into the bay. Similar bathymetric distribution curves of the metals measured in the two studied periods in the OMZ off northern Chile suggest that the factors responsible for this distribution are persistent over time. Authigenic metal content was calculated using lithogenic background by determining Metal/Al ratio from local aeolian dust, instead of average shale values, which are classically used for background correction. This more precise assessment allows examination of the source-sink relation of each metal in this coastal zone. Mo preserved in bottom sediments originates from seawater and accumulates via particulate shuttle, whereas Cd is pre-concentrated in biodetritus. Ni, Mn, V and Fe show a combined behavior. Sulfate reduction is not the most important mechanism affecting metal accumulation in Mejillones Bay, probably due to the presence of Thioploca, which inhibits pyrite formation and the metal-sulfide reaction. We propose the use of the authigenic Mo/U ratio and a preliminary statistical model to reconstruct the levels of paleoxygenation in the subsurface waters of Mejillones Bay, by analyzing the same metals measured throughout the sedimentary sequences (and using the same statistical procedure), at least to identify extreme variations of the OMZ in this bay of northern Chile.
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Jorge Valdés, Abdelfettah Sifeddine, Mohammed Boussafir, Luc Ortlieb. Redox conditions in a coastal zone of the Humboldt System (Mejillones, 23° S). Influence on the preservation of redox-sensitive metals. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, Elsevier, 2014, 140, pp.1-10. ⟨10.1016/j.gexplo.2014.01.002⟩. ⟨insu-00931942⟩

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