Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nat Commun. 2013;4:1533. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2511.

Nitrogen cycle feedbacks as a control on euxinia in the mid-Proterozoic ocean.

Author information

1
Earth System Science Group, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4PS, UK. r.a.boyle@exeter.ac.uk

Abstract

Geochemical evidence invokes anoxic deep oceans until the terminal Neoproterozoic ~0.55 Ma, despite oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere nearly 2 Gyr earlier. Marine sediments from the intervening period suggest predominantly ferruginous (anoxic Fe(II)-rich) waters, interspersed with euxinia (anoxic H(2)S-rich conditions) along productive continental margins. Today, sustained biotic H(2)S production requires NO(3)(-) depletion because denitrifiers outcompete sulphate reducers. Thus, euxinia is rare, only occurring concurrently with (steady state) organic carbon availability when N(2)-fixers dominate the production in the photic zone. Here we use a simple box model of a generic Proterozoic coastal upwelling zone to show how these feedbacks caused the mid-Proterozoic ocean to exhibit a spatial/temporal separation between two states: photic zone NO(3)(-) with denitrification in lower anoxic waters, and N(2)-fixation-driven production overlying euxinia. Interchange between these states likely explains the varying H(2)S concentration implied by existing data, which persisted until the Neoproterozoic oxygenation event gave rise to modern marine biogeochemistry.

PMID:
23443561
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms2511
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Support Center