December 1 – Licentiate Thesis Presentation by Christoffer Hemmingsson

Phosphate and Arsenic cycling under Experimental Early Proterozoic Marine conditions

Friday, 1 December 2017
10h00, Högbomsalen, Geohuset, Stockholm University

Senior Lecturer Iain Pitcairn, Docent, Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University
Senior Lecturer Ernest Chi Fru, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University

Senior Lecturer Christophe Dupraz, Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University
Senior Researcher Per Andersson, Docent, Department of Geosciences, Swedish Museum of Natural History



Nutrient dynamics in the Archean-Paleoproterozoic oceans strongly influenced primary productivity and the rise of atmospheric O2. Reconstructing the cycling of key nutrients such as dissolved inorganic phosphate (DIP) at this time is important for our understanding of the timing, rate and extent of atmospheric oxygenation at this time. Banded iron formations (BIF) can be used as proxies for global DIP content in Precambrian marine waters. Estimating Precambrian DIP requires understanding of the mechanisms by which Fe(III)(oxyhydr)oxides scavenge DIP which has come mainly from experimental studies using NaCl solutions that mimick Precambrian marine conditions with for example, elevated Si and Fe(II) concentrations. The two DIP binding modes suggested for Early Proterozoic marine waters are 1) Adsorption - surface attachment on pre-formed Fe(III)(oxyhydr)oxides, and 2) Coprecipitation - incorporation of P into actively growing Fe(III)(oxyhydr)oxides. It has been suggested that the elevated Si concentrations suggested for Precambrian seawater, strongly inhibit adsorption of DIP in Fe(III)(oxyhydr)oxides. However recent coprecipitation experiments show that DIP is strongly scavenged by Fe(III)(oxyhydr)oxides in the presence of Si, seawater cations and hydrothermal As. In this study we show that the DIP uptake onto Fe(III)(oxyhydr)oxides by adsorption is less than 5% of that by coprecipitation. The data imply that in the Early Proterozoic open oceans, the precipitation of Fe(III)(oxyhydr)oxides during mixing of deep anoxic Fe(II)-rich waters with oxygenated ocean surface waters caused DIP removal from surface waters through coprecipitation rather than adsorption. Local variations in DIP and perhaps even stratification of DIP in the oceans were likely created from the continuous removal of DIP from surface waters by Fe(III)(oxyhydr)oxides, and its partial release into the anoxic bottoms waters and in buried sediments. In addition to a DIP famine, the selectivity for DIP over As(V) may have led to As enrichment in surface waters both of which would have most likely decreased the productivity of Cyanobacteria and O2 production. 


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