Alt, Jeffrey C. and Shanks, Wayne C. (2011): Microbial sulfate reduction and the sulfur budget for a complete section of altered oceanic basalts, IODP Hole 1256D (eastern Pacific)

ODP 206 1256
IODP 309 U1256
IODP 312 U1256
IODP 335 1256


Alt, Jeffrey C.
University of Michigan, Department of Geological Sciences, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

Shanks, Wayne C.
U. S. Geological Survey, United States

Microbial sulfate reduction and the sulfur budget for a complete section of altered oceanic basalts, IODP Hole 1256D (eastern Pacific)
Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Sulfide mineralogy and the contents and isotope compositions of sulfur were analyzed in a complete oceanic volcanic section from IODP Hole 1256D in the eastern Pacific, in order to investigate the role of microbes and their effect on the sulfur budget in altered upper oceanic crust. Basalts in the 800 m thick volcanic section are affected by a pervasive low-temperature background alteration and have mean sulfur contents of 530 ppm, reflecting loss of sulfur relative to fresh glass through degassing during eruption and alteration by seawater. Alteration halos along fractures average 155 ppm sulfur and are more oxidized, have high SO (sub 4) /Sigma S ratios (0.43), and lost sulfur through oxidation by seawater compared to host rocks. Although sulfur was lost locally, sulfur was subsequently gained through fixation of seawater-derived sulfur in secondary pyrite and marcasite in veins and in concentrations at the boundary between alteration halos and host rocks. Negative delta (super 34) S (sub sulfide-S) values (down to -30 ppm) and low temperatures of alteration (down to approximately 40 degrees C) point to microbial reduction of seawater sulfate as the process resulting in local additions of sulfide-S. Mass balance calculations indicate that 15-20% of the sulfur in the volcanic section is microbially derived, with the bulk altered volcanic section containing 940 ppm S, and with delta (super 34) S shifted to -6.0 ppm from the mantle value (0 ppm). The bulk volcanic section may have gained or lost sulfur overall. The annual flux of microbial sulfur into oceanic basement based on Hole 1256D is 3-4 X 10 (super 10) mol S yr (super -1) , within an order of magnitude of the riverine sulfate source and the sedimentary pyrite sink. Results indicate a flux of bacterially derived sulfur that is fixed in upper ocean basement of 7-8 X 10 (super -8) mol cm (super -2) yr (super -1) over 15 m.y. This is comparable to that in open ocean sediment sites but is one to two orders of magnitude less than for ocean margin sediments. The global annual subduction of sulfur in altered oceanic basalt lavas based on Hole 1256D is 1.5-2.0 X 10 (super 11) mol yr (super -1) , comparable to the subduction of sulfide in sediments, and could contribute to sediment-like sulfur isotope heterogeneities in the mantle. Abstract Copyright (2011) Elsevier, B.V.
Coverage:Geographic coordinates:
West:-91.5600East: -91.5600

Oceanography; General geochemistry; alteration; basalts; biogenic processes; biosphere; crust; East Pacific; Equatorial Pacific; eruptions; fractures; haloes; heterogeneity; host rocks; hydrothermal conditions; igneous rocks; Integrated Ocean Drilling Program; isotope ratios; isotopes; mantle; marcasite; microorganisms; North Pacific; Northeast Pacific; Ocean Drilling Program; oceanic crust; ODP Site 1256; oxidation; Pacific Ocean; pyrite; reduction; S-34/S-32; sea water; stable isotopes; subduction; sulfates; sulfides; sulfur; veins; volcanic rocks;