Influence of diagenesis on the stable isotopic composition of biogenic carbonates from the Gulf of Tehuantepec oxygen minimum zone

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Abstract

[1] In order to evaluate the influence of diagenetic and post-sampling processes on the stable oxygen and carbon isotope compositions of biogenic carbonates, we conducted a multiproxy study of organic-rich sediments from the eastern Pacific oxygen minimum zone. Core MD02-2520, which was retrieved from the Gulf of Tehuantepec (Mexico), has seasonal laminations and covers the last 40 kyr. Together with the presence of gypsum crystals and inorganic calcite aggregates, the occurrence of large excursions in the stable oxygen and carbon isotope records of both planktonic and benthic foraminifera (as large as +3‰ in δ18O and −5‰ in δ13C) point to significant secondary transformations. Storage-related gypsum precipitation was ruled out since it implies sulfide reoxidation by oxygen that triggers biogenic calcite dissolution, which proved to be of minor importance here. Instead, precipitation of authigenic calcite during early diagenesis appears to be the most likely process responsible for the observed isotopic excursions. The δ13C composition for inorganic calcite aggregates (−5 to −7‰) suggests a major contribution from anaerobic oxidation of organic matter. The δ34S composition for gypsum crystals (−10 to +15‰) suggests a major contribution from anaerobic reoxidation of authigenic sulfides, potentially involving reactions with metal oxides and sulfur disproportionation. A minor part of the gypsum might possibly have formed as a result of local pore water salinity increases induced by gas hydrate formation.

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