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The S isotope composition of pyrite in Cretaceous shales from the Western Interior of North America is related to organic C abundance, kerogen type and Fe availability. Both calcareous and noncalcareous rocks show a correlation between S and C, but noncalcareous rocks are relatively enriched in S with a higher S C ratio. This higher ratio probably shows that pyrite formation was Fe limited in the calcareous rocks. Organic-carbon-rich noncalcareous shales accumulated slowly beneath anoxic bottom waters. The anoxic bottom waters allowed hydrogen-rich organic matter to be preserved. Such shales have a narrow range of 34S-depleted sulfide and have Fe S ratios like stoichiometric pyrite, suggesting that pyrite formation in organic-rich shales was also limited by Fe availability. Conversely, organic-poor shales commonly accumulated at comparatively high rates, contain hydrogen-poor and refractory organic matter, and have a wide range of pyrite-S isotopic compositions. These organic-poor shales contain post-sulfidic authigenic minerals such as siderite and have excess reactive Fe rather than pyrite stoichiometry. Evidently Fe played a large role in early diagenesis and determined the course of post-sulfidic diagenesis. Fe availability was, however, mainly controlled by provenance, by the rates of sediment accumulation, and by the oxygen content of the depositional environment. ?? 1987.
Additional Publication Details
Isotopic composition of pyrite: Relationship to organic matter type and iron availability in some North American cretaceous shales