Studies of stream and sediment-pore waters largely explain the genesis of concretionary Mn-Fe-oxides in Maine. Waters of two small streams near Jackman, Maine, were studied in terms of pH, Eh, dissolved oxygen, dissolved organic carbon, dissolved Mn, total dissolved Fe, and ferrous and ferric Fe. Pyrite Creek has profuse concretions and coatings of Mn-Fe-oxides, whereas West Pyrite Creek has only sparse Mn-Fe-oxide stains. Pyrite Creek drains boggy terrain and West Pyrite Creek drains well-drained terrain. In West Pyrite Creek, stream and subjacent pore waters have chemical characteristics that do not differ greatly. However, dissolved Mn, ferrous Fe, dissolved oxygen, and in situ Eh measurements show that a steep Eh gradient exists between stream and subjacent pore waters of Pyrite Creek. The steep Eh gradient is manifested by the common zonation of coatings and stains on rocks in stream sediment. The bottom zone has no deposition of oxides, the middle zone is red and consists mostly of Fe-oxides, and the upper zone is black or dark-brown and consists of Mn-oxides with varying amounts of Fe-oxides. The zonation agrees with theoretical predictions of oxide stability as one moves from a reducing to an oxidizing environment. At locations where concretionary Mn-Fe-oxides form, pore waters are depleted of oxygen because of abundant decaying organic material in the stream sediment. The pore waters are charged with dissolved Mn and Fe because mechanically deposited Mn-Fe-oxides are remobilized due to the low-Eh conditions. Groundwaters also contribute dissolved Mn and Fe. Stream waters, on the other hand, are oxygenated and the high-Eh conditions result in low concentrations of dissolved Mn and Fe in stream waters because of the insolubility of Mn-Fe-oxides in high-Eh environments. Therefore, concretionary Mn-Fe-oxides form at the interface between pore and stream waters because Mn- and Fe-rich pore waters, which are undersaturated with respect to Mn-Fe-oxides, mix with oxygen-rich stream waters, which are saturated with respect to Mn-Fe-oxides. ?? 1983.
Additional publication details
Origin of concretionary Mn-Fe-oxides in stream sediments of Maine, U.S.A.