Advances in Earth Science ›› 2013, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (9): 1049-1056. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2013.09.1049

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Iron-Molybdenum Isotopes and the Chemical Evolution of Ancient-Oceans

Cui Hao 1,Zhou Lian 2,Li Chao 1,Peng Xingfang 1,Jin Chengsheng 1,Shi Wei 1,Zhang Zihu 1,Luo Genming 1,Xie Shucheng 1   

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Biological and Environmental Geology, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China;2.State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
  • Received:2013-04-14 Revised:2013-07-08 Online:2013-09-10 Published:2013-09-10

Cui Hao,Zhou Lian,Li Chao,Peng Xingfang,Jin Chengsheng,Shi Wei,Zhang Zihu,Luo Genming,Xie Shucheng. Iron-Molybdenum Isotopes and the Chemical Evolution of Ancient-Oceans[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2013, 28(9): 1049-1056.

Iron(Fe) is abundant in nature while molybdenum(Mo) is the most abundant transition metal in seawater. Due to their high sensitivity to the redox state of the environment, the isotopic compositions of Fe and Mo as well as variations have been widely used to probe the redox conditions and the evolution of ancient ocean chemistry in favor of improved analytical techniques. Here, we summarized isotopic fractionation mechanisms and natural distribution of both iron and molybdenum isotopes, and further we summarized and partially reinterpreted the redox evolution of ancient oceans through time based on available Fe-Mo data compiled in this study. The process that causes the largest iron isotope fractionation is redox reaction and the iron in oxidation state is generally enriched in 56Fe. Biotic and abiotic pyrite formations also produce a large Fe isotope fractionations. Isotopic fractionation of molybdenum in seawater is mainly caused by the adsorption process of dissolved Mo onto ferromanganese oxides or hydroxides in sediments. Fe-Mn (hydro)oxides tend to adsorb isotopically light molybdenum resulting in the isotopic composition of Mo in seawater heavier. However, the Mo sinks in euxinic settings cause almost no molybdenum isotope fractionation. The FeMo isotope isotopic records through geological timegenerally suggest similar ocean redox evolution: Oceans older than 2.3 Ga was mainly dominated by ferruginous condition, and there was a slight increase in oxygen content between 2.6 and 2.5 Ga. Earth’s surface was initially oxidized during 2.3 to 1.8 Ga, during which euxinic deposition of sulfide was elevated. Euxinic waters may have expanded greatly between 1.8 and 0.8 Ga, and after that, Earth’s surface had being gradually oxidized and the euxinic waters shrank substantially.Finally, suggestions are proposed for further work on the Fe-Mo isotope research in the context of ancient ocean chemistry.

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