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The pyrite multiple sulfur isotope record of the 1.98 Ga Zaonega Formation: evidence for biogeochemical sulfur cycling in a semi-restricted basin

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Abstract

The pyrite sulfur isotope record of the 1.98 Ga Zaonega Formation in the Onega Basin, NW Russia, has played a central role in understanding ocean-atmosphere composition and infering worldwide fluctuations of the seawater sulfate reservoir during the pivotal times of the Paleoproterozoic Era. That, in turn, has led to a concept that Earth’s atmospheric oxygen levels underwent global-scale changes. Here we present a steady-state isotope mass-balance model to gain insight into the mechanisms governing the sulfur cycle and sulfate reservoir during deposition of the organic-rich Zaonega Formation. We demonstrate that coupling between high microbial sulfate reduction rates and effective sulfate removal by pyrite precipitation can lead to Rayleigh distillation of the basinal sulfate reservoir and development of high amplitude positive δ34S excursions. This modelling approach illustrates that secular changes in sedimentary pyrite isotope trends can be explained by processes that reflect local (basin-scale) fluctuations in sulfur cycling rather than global mechanisms.
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Original languageEnglish
Article number116092
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume534
Early online date21 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2020

    Research areas

  • Sulfur isotope fractionation, Sulfur cycle, Mass-balance model, Paleoproterozoic

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