Abstract

The early diagenesis of sulfur was assessed in four short sediment cores on the continental shelf off southeastern Brazil that were deposited under the influence of an upwelling tropical system. This tropical upwelling area allows a direct focus on the coupled roles of hydrodynamic- and bioturbation-driven influences on sulfate reduction, sulfide re-oxidation and corresponding stable sulfur isotope signal formation. Under the depositional conditions of Cabo Frio, the degree of reactive iron pyritization was limited by both dissolved sulfide availability and pyrite oxidation events. Textural analyses of pyrite framboids provide evidence of re-oxidation processes, reflecting dynamic redox conditions in the sediments. The isotope composition of pore-water sulfate remained close to the modern seawater value, but very light stable sulfur isotope ratios (34S/32S) of chromium reducible sulfur (essentially pyrite) are found that reflect intense bioturbation-induced sulfur re-cycling. The sulfur isotope signatures developing in these tropical upwelling sites are similar to those of modern euxinic systems, although they are caused by a superimposition of sulfate reduction and an intense oxidative sulfur cycle.

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