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Free Content A key role for iron-bound phosphorus in authigenic apatite formation in North Atlantic continental platform sediments

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A combination of pore water and solid phase analysis was used to determine whether authigenic carbonate fluorapatite (CFA) is currently forming in the sediment at two locations (OMEX I and II) on the North Atlantic continental platform Goban Spur (southwest of Ireland). Results of selective P extractions suggest that an early diagenetic redistribution of Fe-bound P to an authigenic P phase may be occurring at both stations. A steady-state diagenetic model describing the depth profiles of pore water HPO42− and three solid phase forms of P (organic P, Fe-bound P and authigenic P) was developed and applied to the data of station OMEX-I. The model results indicate that CFA formation can account for the observed increase of authigenic P with depth at this station. Furthermore, the results show that an intense cycling of P between Fe-bound P and pore water HPO42− at the redox interface can create conditions beneficial for CFA formation. This internal P cycle is driven by downward, bioturbational transport of mainly in-situ-formed Fe-bound P into the reduced sediment zone. Losses from the internal P cycle due to CFA formation and HPO42− diffusion are compensated for by sorption of HPO42− released from organic matter to Fe oxides in the oxidized surface sediment. Fe-bound P thus acts as an intermediate between organic P and CFA. CFA can account for between 25 and 70% of the total burial flux of reactive P at station OMEX-I and thus may act as an important sink for P in this low sedimentation, continental margin environment.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 1996

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  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
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