Isotopic evidence for oxygenated Mesoarchaean shallow oceans

Eickmann, Banjamin; Hofmann, Axel; Wille, Martin; Thi, Hao Bui; Boswell, A. Wing; Schoenberg, Ronny (2018). Isotopic evidence for oxygenated Mesoarchaean shallow oceans. Nature geoscience, 11(2), pp. 133-138. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/s41561-017-0036-x

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Mass-independent fractionation of sulfur isotopes (MIF-S) in Archaean sediments results from photochemical processing of atmospheric sulfur species in an oxygen-depleted atmosphere. Geological preservation of MIF-S provides evidence for microbial sulfate reduction (MSR) in low-sulfate Paleoarchaean (3.8–3.2 billion years ago (Ga)) and Neoarchaean (2.8–2.5 Ga) oceans, but the significance of MSR in Mesoarchaean (3.2–2.8 Ga) oceans is less clear. Here we present multiple sulfur and iron isotope data of early diagenetic pyrites from 2.97-Gyr-old stromatolitic dolomites deposited in a tidal flat environment of the Nsuze Group, Pongola Supergroup, South Africa. We identified consistently negative Δ33S values in pyrite, which indicates photochemical reactions under anoxic atmospheric conditions, but large mass-dependent sulfur isotope fractionations of ~30‰ in δ34S, identifying active MSR. Negative pyrite δ56Fe values (−1.31 to −0.88‰) record Fe oxidation in oxygen-bearing shallow oceans coupled with biogenic Fe reduction during diagenesis, consistent with the onset of local Fe cycling in oxygen oases ~3.0 Ga. We therefore suggest the presence of oxygenated near-shore shallow-marine environments with ≥5 μM sulfate at this time, in spite of the clear presence of an overall reduced Mesoarchaean atmosphere.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Wille, Martin

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

1752-0894

Publisher:

Nature Publishing Group

Language:

English

Submitter:

Martin Wille

Date Deposited:

16 Oct 2018 10:17

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 06:10

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/s41561-017-0036-x

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.120484

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/120484

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