Scientific article

Iron isotope geochemistry of biogenic magnetite-bearing sediments from the Bay of Vidy, Lake Geneva

Published inChemical geology, vol. 360-361, p. 32-40
Publication date2013

Dissimilatory microbial iron oxide reduction (DIR) has been hypothesized to be an important respiratory pathway on early Earth, potentially generating significant quantities of Fe(II) that have been preserved in Proterozoic and Archean sedimentary rocks. In particular, DIR has been implicated in the formation of magnetite in Precambrian marine sediments. To date, however, only one modern sedimentary environment existswhere in situ magnetite formation has been linked to DIR: the Bay of Vidy in Lake Geneva, Switzerland. Previous work at this locality has characterized a magnetic susceptibility anomaly that reflects the presence of fine-grained magnetite produced via microbial reduction of amorphous Fe(III) oxides that enter the Bay of Vidy froma nearby sewage treatment plant. In this study, we report on the Fe isotope composition of aqueous and solid-phase Fe in the Bay of Vidy sediments. Extensive Fe(III) reduction has occurred, resulting in the conversion of nearly all reactive (non-silicate) Fe(III) to a variety of Fe(II)-bearing phases, with mixed Fe valence magnetite being a minor but easily detectable component (0.5–8wt.%). Very little Fe isotope variation was observed in any solid phase Fe components, including magnetite, although significant fractionation was observed between aqueous and solid-phase Fe(II). Because Fe mass-balance was dominated by the solid phase, little net change in δ56Fe values for Fe(II)-bearing components was produced despite clear evidence for DIR. This study provides a basis for interpreting instances in the rock recordwhere DIR was the driving force for Fe(II) production and magnetite formation, yet no significant deviations in δ56Fe valueswere preserved. A key implication of the results is that Fe isotope homogeneity is not sufficient to rule out a biological mechanismfor magnetite formation, and this should be taken into account when examining the Precambrian rock record.

  • Bay of Vidy
  • Sediment
  • Microbial iron reduction
  • Iron isotope geochemistry
  • Magnetite formation
Citation (ISO format)
PERCAK-DENNETT, Elizabeth M. et al. Iron isotope geochemistry of biogenic magnetite-bearing sediments from the Bay of Vidy, Lake Geneva. In: Chemical geology, 2013, vol. 360-361, p. 32–40. doi: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2013.10.008
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0009-2541

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