Abstract

The upper part of the New Albany Shale is divided into three members. In ascending order, these are (1) the Morgan Trail Member, a laminated brownish-black shale; (2) the Camp Run Member, an interbedded brownish-black and greenish-gray shale; and (3) the Clegg Creek Member, also a laminated brownish-black shale. The Morgan Trail and Camp Run Members contain 5% to 6% total organic carbon (TOC) and 2% sulfide sulfur. Isotopic composition of sulfide in these members ranges from -5.0‰ to -20.0‰. C/S plots indicate linear relationships between abundances of these elements, with a zero intercept characteristic of sediments deposited in a non-euxinic marine environment. Formation of diagenetic pyrite was carbon limited in these members. The Clegg Creek Member contains 10% to 15% TOC and 2% to 6% sulfide sulfur. Isotopic compositions of sulfide range from -5.0‰ to -40.0‰. The most negative values occur in the uppermost Clegg Creek Member and are characteristic of syngenetic pyrite, formed within an anoxic water column. Abundances of carbon and sulfur are greater and uncorrelated in this member, consistent with deposition in an euxinic environment. In addition, DOP (degree of pyritization) values suggest that formation of pyrite was generally iron limited throughout Clegg Creek deposition, but sulfur isotopes indicate that syngenetic (water-column) pyrite becomes an important component in the sediment only in the upper part of the member. At the top of the Clegg Creek Member, a zone of phosphate nodules and trace-metal enrichment coincides with maximal TOC values. During euxinic deposition, phosphate and trace metals accumulated below the chemocline because of limited vertical circulation in the water column. Increased productivity would have resulted in an increased flux of particulate organic matter to the sediment, providing an effective sink for trace metals in the water column. Phosphate and trace metals released from organic matter during early diagenesis resulted in precipitation of metal-rich phosphate nodules.

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