Hydrothermalism in the Tyrrhenian Sea: inorganic and microbial sulfur cycling as revealed by geochemical and multiple sulfur isotope data

Peters, Marc, Strauss, Harald, Petersen, Sven, Kummer, Nicolai-Alexeji and Thomazo, Christophe (2011) Hydrothermalism in the Tyrrhenian Sea: inorganic and microbial sulfur cycling as revealed by geochemical and multiple sulfur isotope data Chemical Geology, 280 . pp. 217-231. DOI 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2010.11.011.

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The Palinuro volcanic complex and the Panarea hydrothermal field, both located in the Tyrrhenian Sea (Italy), are associated with island arc magmatism and characterized by polymetallic sulfide mineralization. Dissolved sulfide concentrations, pH, and Eh measured in porewaters at both sites reveal a variable hydrothermal influence on porewater chemistry.
Multiple sulfur isotopic measurements for disseminated sulfides (CRS: chromium reducible sulfur) extracted from sediments at Palinuro yielded a broad range in δ34S range between −29.8 and + 10.2‰ and Δ33S values between + 0.015 and + 0.134‰. In contrast, sediments at Panarea exhibit a much smaller range in δ34SCRS with less negative values between −11.3 and −1.8‰. The sulfur isotope signatures are interpreted to reflect a mixture between hydrothermal and biogenic sulfide, with a more substantial biogenic contribution at Panarea.
Multiple sulfur isotope measurements were performed on sulfides and elemental sulfur from drill core material from the Palinuro massive sulfide complex. δ34S and Δ33S values for pyrite between −32.8 and −1.1‰ and between −0.012 to + 0.042‰, respectively, as well as for elemental sulfur with δ34S and Δ33S values between −26.7 and −2.1‰ and between + 0.035 and + 0.109‰, respectively, point to a microbial origin for much of the sulfide and elemental sulfur studied. Moreover, data suggest a coupling of bacterial sulfate reduction, sulfide oxidation and sulfur disproportionation. In addition, δ34S values for barite between + 25.0 and + 63.6‰ are also in agreement with high microbial turnover of sulfate at Palinuro.
Although a magmatic SO2 contribution towards the formation of the Palinuro massive sulfide complex is very likely, the activity of different sulfur utilizing microorganisms played a fundamental role during its formation. Thus, porewater and multiple sulfur isotope data reveal differences in the hydrothermal activity at Palinuro and Panarea drill sites and underline the importance of microbial communities for the origin of massive sulfide mineralizations in the hydrothermal subsurface.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Geodynamics; Hydrothermalism; sulfur cycling; massive sulfide complex; multiple sulfur isotopes
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2010.11.011
ISSN: 0009-2541
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2010 19:34
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2017 08:14
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/10502

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