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Influence of water column anoxia on the burial and preservation of carbon and phosphorus in marine shales

Influence of water column anoxia on the burial and preservation of carbon and phosphorus in marine shales

Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta. 57(2): 303-316

Organic P and organic C concentrations were measured in several well-characterized Phanerozoic marine shale sequences with the primary focus being the Camp Run Member of the Devonian-Mississippian New Albany Shale. Sequences were selected with close spatial association of bioturbated and laminated sediments which reflect deposition from oxic and anoxic waters, respectively. Average organic C/P mole ratios calculated from the data are 150 for bioturbated shales and 3900 for the laminated shales of the New Albany. Differences in the extent and mechanisms of early diagenesis related to the oxygenation of waters at the sediment-water interface can account for the C/P ratios of buried organic matter. Low C/P ratios of bioturbated sediments are attributed to (1) the increased ability of bacteria to store P in well-oxygenated environments which leads to the production of low C/P ratio bacterial biomass and (2) the extensive oxidation of sedimentary organic matter resulting in the formation of residual organic phases with low C/P ratios. High organic C/P ratios of laminated sediments are explained by a combination of (1) the limited ability of bacteria to store P under anoxic conditions, (2) extensive P regeneration from sedimentary organic matter, (3) enhanced C preservation relative to the bioturbated shales. It is also shown that relative to organic C, laminated shales are not as effective a P sink as are bioturbated shales. This provides a mechanism in anoxic environments for burying large quantities of organic matter without simultaneously sequestering the P needed to sustain further productivity.

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Accession: 008872429

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DOI: 10.1016/0016-7037(93)90433-w

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