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Title: Can Mn–S redox cycling drive sedimentary dolomite formation? A hypothesis

The formation of dolomite in modern peritidal environments is linked to the degradation of buried microbial mats, with complexation of Ca and Mg by extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs) and alkalinity generation through organic carbon respiration facilitating the nucleation of dolomite precursors. In the past two decades, microbial sulfate reduction, methanogenesis, and methanotrophy have all been considered as potential drivers of the nucleation process, but it remains unclear why dolomite formation could not also occur in suboxic sediments where abundant alkalinity is produced by processes linked to Mn(IV) and/or Fe(III) reduction coupled with the diffusion and reoxidation of reduced sulfur species. Here we report the interstitial occurrence of spheroidal aggregates of nanometer-scale Ca-rich dolomite rhombohedra within suboxic sediments associated with remnant microbial mats that developed in the peritidal zone of the Archipelago Los Roques, Venezuela. Multiple analytical tools, including EPMA, ICP-MS, synchrotron-based XRF and XRD, and spatially resolved XANES microanalyses, show that the dolomite-cemented interval exhibits depleted bulk iron concentrations, but is interstitially enriched in Mn and elemental sulfur (S⁰). Manganese occurs in several oxidation states, indicating that the dolomite-cemented interval was the locus of complex biological redox transformations characterized by coupled Mn and S cycling. The tight correspondence between sedimentarymore » Mn and MgCO₃ concentrations further hints at a direct role for Mn during dolomitization. While additional studies are required to confirm its relevance in natural settings, we propose a model by which coupled Mn–S redox cycling may promote alkalinity generation and thus dolomite formation in manner similar to, or even more efficiently, than bacterial sulfate reduction alone.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Chemical Geology; Journal Volume: 404; Journal Issue: C
Research Org:
Advanced Photon Source (APS), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Argonne, IL (US)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); Foreign
Country of Publication:
United States