Marine Science Faculty Publications

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Element cycles, Geochemistry, Marine chemistry

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Recent recession of the Larsen Ice Shelf C has revealed microbial alterations of illite in marine sediments, a process typically thought to occur during low-grade metamorphism. In situ breakdown of illite provides a previously-unobserved pathway for the release of dissolved Fe2+ to porewaters, thus enhancing clay-rich Antarctic sub-ice shelf sediments as an important source of Fe to Fe-limited surface Southern Ocean waters during ice shelf retreat after the Last Glacial Maximum. When sediments are underneath the ice shelf, Fe2+ from microbial reductive dissolution of illite/Fe-oxides may be exported to the water column. However, the initiation of an oxygenated, bioturbated sediment under receding ice shelves may oxidize Fe within surface porewaters, decreasing dissolved Fe2+ export to the ocean. Thus, we identify another ice-sheet feedback intimately tied to iron biogeochemistry during climate transitions. Further constraints on the geographical extent of this process will impact our understanding of iron-carbon feedbacks during major deglaciations.

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Nature Communications, v. 10, art. 5786

41467_2019_13741_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (699 kB)
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41467_2019_13741_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (105 kB)
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41467_2019_13741_MOESM4_ESM.xlsx (669 kB)
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