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Biogenicity of an Early Quaternary iron formation, Milos Island, Greece

Chi Fru, E. ORCID:, Ivarsson, M., Kilias, S. P., Frings, P. J., Hemmingsson, C., Broman, C., Bengtson, S. and Chatzitheodoridis, E. 2015. Biogenicity of an Early Quaternary iron formation, Milos Island, Greece. Geobiology 13 (3) , pp. 225-244. 10.1111/gbi.12128

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A ~2.0-million-year-old shallow-submarine sedimentary deposit on Milos Island, Greece, harbours an unmetamorphosed fossiliferous iron formation (IF) comparable to Precambrian banded iron formations (BIFs). This Milos IF holds the potential to provide clues to the origin of Precambrian BIFs, relative to biotic and abiotic processes. Here, we combine field stratigraphic observations, stable isotopes of C, S and Si, rock petrography and microfossil evidence from a ~5-m-thick outcrop to track potential biogeochemical processes that may have contributed to the formation of the BIF-type rocks and the abrupt transition to an overlying conglomerate-hosted IF (CIF). Bulk δ13C isotopic compositions lower than -25‰ provide evidence for biological contribution by the Calvin and reductive acetyl–CoA carbon fixation cycles to the origin of both the BIF-type and CIF strata. Low S levels of ~0.04 wt.% combined with δ34S estimates of up to ~18‰ point to a non-sulphidic depository. Positive δ30Si records of up to +0.53‰ in the finely laminated BIF-type rocks indicate chemical deposition on the seafloor during weak periods of arc magmatism. Negative δ30Si data are consistent with geological observations suggesting a sudden change to intense arc volcanism potentially terminated the deposition of the BIF-type layer. The typical Precambrian rhythmic rocks of alternating Fe- and Si-rich bands are associated with abundant and spatially distinct microbial fossil assemblages. Together with previously proposed anoxygenic photoferrotrophic iron cycling and low sedimentary N and C potentially connected to diagenetic denitrification, the Milos IF is a biogenic submarine volcano-sedimentary IF showing depositional conditions analogous to Archaean Algoma-type BIFs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1472-4677
Date of Acceptance: 5 January 2015
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 09:44

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