Abstract

Barite can precipitate in microenvironments in the water column (marine barite), from supersaturated pore fluids at the oxic-anoxic boundary within marine sediments and where Ba-rich pore fluids are expelled and come into contact with sulfate-rich seawater (diagenetic barite), or from hydrothermal solutions (hydrothermal barite). Barite is relatively resistant to alteration after burial and has been used in paleoceanographic studies to reconstruct seawater chemistry and productivity through time. For such applications it is very important to determine the origin of the barite used, because both diagenetic and hydrothermal barite deposits may not accurately record the open-ocean contemporaneous seawater chemistry and productivity. We show here that it is possible to distinguish between the different types of barite by using Sr and S isotopes along with crystal morphology and size characteristics.

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