Iron Mineralogy and Sediment Color in a 100 m Drill Core from Lake Towuti, Indonesia Reflect Catchment and Diagenetic Conditions

Sheppard, Rachel Y.; Milliken, Ralph E.; Russell, James M.; Sklute, Elizabeth C.; Darby Dyar, M.; Vogel, Hendrik; Melles, Martin; Bijaksana, Satria; Hasberg, Ascelina K. M.; Morlock, Marina A. (2021). Iron Mineralogy and Sediment Color in a 100 m Drill Core from Lake Towuti, Indonesia Reflect Catchment and Diagenetic Conditions. Geochemistry, geophysics, geosystems, 22(8) American Geophysical Union AGU 10.1029/2020GC009582

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Iron is the most abundant redox-sensitive element on the Earth’s surface, and the oxidation state, mineral host, and crystallinity of Fe-rich phases in sedimentary systems can record details of water-rock interactions and environmental conditions. However, we lack a complete understanding of how these Fe-rich materials are created, maintained, and oxidized or reduced in sedimentary environments, particularly those with mafic sources. The catchment of Lake Towuti, Indonesia, is known to contain a wide range of abundant crystalline Fe oxide, and the lake has a long sedimentary history. Here we study a ∼100 m long drill core from the lake to understand patterns of sedimentation and how young iron-rich sediments are affected by diagenesis through geologic time. We use visible/near infrared and Mössbauer spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, bulk chemistry measurements, and statistical cluster analysis to characterize the core sediment. We find that the core sediment can be divided into three statistically different zones dominated by Mg serpentine, Al clay minerals, and Fe2+ carbonate, respectively. The entire core is rich in nanophase Fe, and elemental correlations and Fe mineralogy vary between these zones. The nanophase Fe is highly complex with both ferrous and ferric components, and contributes to, but does not dictate, variations in sediment color. We propose that the distinctive zones are the result of structural basin changes (notably river capture and shifting drainage patterns), and diagenetic overprinting caused by deep burial of reactive Fe. This complex record has implications for disentangling depositional and diagenetic trends in other mafic lacustrine systems.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Vogel, Hendrik and Morlock, Marina Alexandra


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




American Geophysical Union AGU




Hendrik Vogel

Date Deposited:

13 Jul 2021 15:12

Last Modified:

28 Jul 2021 01:34

Publisher DOI:





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