Chert is abundant in Archean and Paleoproterozoic rocks and is commonly densely packed with authigenic Fe(II)-silicate nanoparticles such as greenalite, indicating a close relationship between iron and silica deposition. We investigate the relationship between Fe(II)-silicate minerals and dissolved silica during precipitation, settling, and diagenesis using anoxic synthesis, sorption, and heating experiments. Excess silica is associated with the solid during precipitation, resulting in high molar Si/Fe ratios (<1.52) that exceed that of stoichiometric greenalite (0.67). At pH 8−8.5, silica sorbs to the surface, reaching sorption densities of 0.68 mmol Si per mmol Fe(II)-silicate. Furthermore, excess Si is released upon heating as the Fe(II)-silicate gel crystallizes. We suggest that Fe(II)-silicate minerals acted as an effective Si shuttle between the water column and the sediments in Archean and Paleoproterozoic marine environments, providing sites for the growth of early diagenetic chert, consistent with observations from the sedimentary record. Our results explain the exceptional preservation of greenalite in early chert and indicate that these minerals could provide a robust archive of marine geochemical data.

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