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In a density-stratified lagoon, an algal mat flourishing in the photozone below the interface between surface waters and a hypersaline brine is being replaced by gypsum; waters beneath the photozone are anaerobic and deposit only organic oozes. Major- and trace-element concentrations in the brines increase with depth. Both gypsum and organic matter extract significant quantities of trace metals from the water. A layered, solar-heated brine is suggested as the mechanism for base-metal concentration in depositional environments of euxinic shale.

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