Title

Sedimentary phosphorus and iron cycling in and below the oxygen minimum zone of the northern Arabian Sea

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Kraal, P, Slomp, CP, Reed, DC, Reichart, GJ & Poulton, SW 2012, 'Sedimentary phosphorus and iron cycling in and below the oxygen minimum zone of the northern Arabian Sea', Biogeosciences, vol. 9, pp. 2603-2624.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/bg-9-2603-2012

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

In this study, we investigate phosphorus (P) and iron (Fe) cycling in sediments along a depth transect from within to well below the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) in the northern Arabian Sea (Murray Ridge). Pore-water and solid-phase analyses show that authigenic formation of calcium phosphate minerals (Ca-P) is largely restricted to where the OMZ intersects the seafloor topography, likely due to higher depositional fluxes of reactive P. Nonetheless, increased ratios of organic carbon to organic P (Corg/Porg) and to total reactive P (Corg/Preactive) in surface sediments indicate that the overall burial efficiency of P relative to Corg decreases under the low bottom water oxygen concentrations (BWO) in the OMZ. The relatively constant Fe/Al ratio in surface sediments along the depth transect suggest that corresponding changes in Fe burial are limited. Sedimentary pyrite contents are low throughout the ~25 cm sediment cores at most stations, as commonly observed in the Arabian Sea OMZ. However, pyrite is an important sink for reactive Fe at one station in the OMZ. A reactive transport model (RTM) was applied to quantitatively investigate P and Fe diagenesis at an intermediate station at the lower boundary of the OMZ (bottom water O2: ~14 μmol L−1). The RTM results contrast with earlier findings in showing that Fe redox cycling can control authigenic apatite formation and P burial in Arabian Sea sediment. In addition, results suggest that a large fraction of the sedimentary Ca-P is not authigenic, but is instead deposited from the water column and buried. Dust is likely a major source of this Ca-P. Inclusion of the unreactive Ca-P pool in the Corg/P ratio leads to an overestimation of the burial efficiency of reactive P relative to Corg along the depth transect. Moreover, the unreactive Ca-P accounts for ~85% of total Ca-P burial. In general, our results reveal large differences in P and Fe chemistry between stations in the OMZ, indicating dynamic sedimentary conditions under these oxygen-depleted waters.