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  • Microbial and hydrothermal venting activities on the seafloor are important for the formation of sediment-hosted stratiform sulfide (SHSS) deposits. Fe isotopic compositions are sensitive to both microbial and hydrothermal activities and may be used to investigate the formation of these deposits. However, to the best of our knowledge, no Fe isotopic studies have been conducted on SHSS deposits. In the Devonian Dajiangping SHSS-type pyrite deposit (389 Ma), South China, laminated pyrite ores were precipitated from exhalative hydrothermal fluids, whereas black shales were deposited during intervals with no exhalation. Pyrite grains from black shales mostly display positive δ56Fe-py (0.01–0.73‰), higher than marine sediments (ca. 0‰), due to pyrite deriving Fe from basinal shuttled Fe(III) (hydr-)oxides and slowly crystallizing in pores of sediments with equilibrium fractionation, except for negative δ56Fe-py (−0.17‰ to −0.24‰) of two samples caused by mixing of Fe from underlain laminated ores. The positive δ34S-py (3.50–24.5‰) of black shales reflect that sulfur of pyrite originated from quantitative reduction of sulfate in closed pores of sediments. In contrast, pyrite grains of laminated ores have negative δ56Fe-py (−0.60‰ to −0.21‰), which were not only inherited from the negative δ56Fe of hydrothermal fluids but also caused by kinetic fractionation during rapid precipitation of a pyrite precursor (FeS) in hydrothermal plumes. These ores have negative δ34S-py (−28.7‰ to −1.82‰), because H2S for pyrite mineralization was produced by bacterial sulfate reduction (BSR) in a sulfate-rich seawater column or shallow sediments. The δ56Fe-py values of laminated ores co-vary positively with δ34S-py and δ13C-carbonate along the ore stratigraphy, with δ13C-carbonate values ranging from −12.0‰ to −2.50‰. However, they correlate negatively with aluminum-normalized total organic carbon (TOC/Al2O3). Organic carbon is thus considered to enhance the production of H2S by BSR activities, increase pyrite precipitation rates and promote the expression of kinetic fractionation of Fe isotopes. Intriguingly, in the ore units with vigorous hydrothermal venting activities, δ56Fe-py, δ34S-py and δ13C-carbonate values display a consistently increasing trend. Such results suggest that venting hydrothermal fluids significantly inhibited the H2S production of BSR, which then reduced the pyrite crystallization rate and decreased the kinetic fractionation of Fe isotopes. Our study reveals that the formation of SHSS deposits relies on H2S from microbial activities and metals from hydrothermal exhalation on the seafloor, but that vigorous exhalation can inhibit microbial activities and thus sulfide precipitation rates. The integrated use of Fe, S, and C isotopes can effectively elucidate these dynamic interactions between hydrothermal venting and microbial activities during the formation of SHSS deposits.

Last update from database: 9/18/23, 6:34 AM (UTC)


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