Abstract

Siderite rhizocretions are generally considered to be an indicator of fresh-water conditions. The presence of siderite rhizocretions with a marine δ18O isotope signature in the Rutland Formation, Ketton, U.K. seems to contradict this belief. Commonly, in marine settings pyrite is more prevalent than siderite because of the high concentrations of sulfate in seawater. The Rutland Formation is a fine-grained mixed carbonate-clastic succession with interbedded coals that was deposited in marginal marine conditions. Analysis of siderite revealed that it was chemically zoned, predated pyrite, and has an average δ18O signature of +0.44‰. This siderite is interpreted as having precipitated during early diagenesis from brackish to marine porewaters containing low concentrations of bioavailable organic matter. Despite the porewaters being dominantly marine, under conditions of restricted organic-matter quality and/or quantity Fe(III)-reducing bacteria can outcompete sulfate-reducing bacteria for the organic substrate, resulting in the precipitation of siderite at the expense of pyrite.

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