Experimental dissolution of molybdenum-sulphides at low oxygen concentrations: A first-order approximation of late Archean atmospheric conditions

Greber, Nicolas; Mäder, Urs; Nägler, Thomas (2015). Experimental dissolution of molybdenum-sulphides at low oxygen concentrations: A first-order approximation of late Archean atmospheric conditions. Earth and Space Science, 2(5), pp. 173-180. Wiley 10.1002/2014EA000059

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The abundance of atmospheric oxygen and its evolution through Earth's history is a highly debated topic. The earliest change of the Mo concentration and isotope composition of marine sediments are interpreted to be linked to the onset of the accumulation of free O2 in Earth's atmosphere. The O2 concentration needed to dissolve significant amounts of Mo in water is not yet quantified, however. We present laboratory experiments on pulverized and surface-cleaned molybdenite (MoS2) and a hydrothermal breccia enriched in Mo-bearing sulphides using a glove box setup. Duration of an experiment was 14 days, and first signs of oxidation and subsequent dissolution of Mo compounds start to occur above an atmospheric oxygen concentration of 72 ± 20 ppmv (i.e., 2.6 to 4.6 × 10−4 present atmospheric level (PAL)). This experimentally determined value coincides with published model calculations supporting atmospheric O2 concentrations between 1 × 10−5 to 3 × 10−4 PAL prior to the Great Oxidation Event and sets an upper limit to the molecular oxygen needed to trigger Mo accumulation and Mo isotope variations recorded in sediments. In combination with the published Mo isotope composition of the rock record, this result implies an atmospheric oxygen concentration prior to 2.76 Ga of below 72 ± 20 ppmv.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Isotope Geology

UniBE Contributor:

Greber, Nicolas; Mäder, Urs and Nägler, Thomas

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

2333-5084

Publisher:

Wiley

Language:

English

Submitter:

Thomas Nägler

Date Deposited:

29 Jul 2015 16:23

Last Modified:

29 Jul 2015 16:23

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/2014EA000059

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.70573

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/70573

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