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Zinc and copper behaviour at the soil-river interface: New insights by Zn and Cu isotopes in the organic-rich Rio Negro basin

Abstract : The complex behaviour of Zn and Cu at the soil-river interface was investigated in soil and riverine water samples from the Rio Negro basin, a secondary tributary of the Rio Amazonas, using their stable isotope compositions. This acidic and organic river drains two types of intensely weathered terrains: podzols in its upstream part, and lateritic soils downstream. Bulk soil particles, suspended particulate matter (SPM) as well as colloidal fractions were sampled across the whole basin during low and high water stages. In the basin, Zn and Cu are mostly exported from lateritic soils and transported by organic colloids where significant losses are observed in the downstream part of the river. The use of delta Zn-66 and delta Cu-66 measurements reveals distinct stories for these two metals in suspended sediments and colloids. In the colloids, the constant delta Zn-66(coll) across the basin is induced by the same weak association mode between Zn and organic ligands, regardless of the origin of the water. By contrast, in SPM, the speciation of Zn and thus delta Zn-66(SPM) differ according to the type of drained soils. Zn is associated with organic complexes in particles exported with water draining podzol whereas Zn2+ is incorporated in the structure of the remaining kaolinite clays in lateritic output. The stronger reactivity of Cu than Zn with organic ligands induces its complete complexation. Copper is controlled by refractory particulate organic matter (POM) and by reactive colloidal organic matter; the latter being enriched in delta Cu-65 due to stronger binding interactions than in POM. While the Cu content remains constant in the upstream part of the Rio Negro, downstream, the decrease of SPM and colloidal Cu fluxes is associated with a constant delta Cu-65(SPM) and with an increase of delta Cu-65(coll) at the Rio Negro outlet. Geochemical mass balance modelling, based on SPM, Cu and Zn fluxes in SPM and their associated isotopic signatures, confirms distinct host phases for Zn and Cu, and identifies the most probable places where losses of these two metals occur. In colloids, the observed Cu isotope fractionation (from 0.24 to 0.45%) superimposed on the significant Cu-coll loss is assumed to result from a new isotopic equilibrium in a low velocity and high productivity zone: Cu-rich colloids enriched in Cu-63 aggregate and settle down, whereas the remaining heavy Cu is partially complexed on strong organic ligands secreted by phytoplankton, forming new Cu-colloids
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 11, 2020 - 5:55:53 PM
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Damien Guinoiseau, Alexandre F Gélabert, Thierry Allard, Pascale Louvat, Patricia Moreira-Turcq, et al.. Zinc and copper behaviour at the soil-river interface: New insights by Zn and Cu isotopes in the organic-rich Rio Negro basin. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Elsevier, 2017, 213, pp.178-197. ⟨10.1016/j.gca.2017.06.030⟩. ⟨insu-02865484⟩



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