Pyrite is rapidly accumulating at the contact between the Cretaceous limestones of the Florida Platform and the hemipelagic sediments of the abyssal Gulf of Mexico. Sediments sampled with the submersible "Alvin" in 3266 m of water are associated with a dense community of organisms that depend on chemosynthetic primary production as a food source. Analysis of the chemistry, mineralogy, and textural composition of these sediments indicate that iron sulfide mineralization is occurring at the seafloor within an anoxic micro-habitat sustained by the advection of hydrogen sulfide-charged saline brines from the adjacent platform. The chemosynthetic bacteria that directly overlie the sediments oxidize hydrogen sulfide for energy and provide elemental sulfur that reacts with iron monosulfide to form some of the pyrite. The sediments are mixtures of pyrite (??? 30 wt.%), BaSr sulfates (??? 4 wt.%), clays, and locally derived biogenic carbonates and are progressively being cemented by iron sulfides. Oxidation of hydrogen sulfide produces locally acidic conditions that corrode the adjacent limestones. Potential sources of S, H2S, Fe, Ba, and Sr are discussed. ?? 1987.
Additional Publication Details
Chemistry and mineralogy of pyrite-enriched sediments at a passive margin sulfide brine seep: abyssal Gulf of Mexico