Filson Creek Fen, located in northeastern Minnesota, overlies a Cu-Ni sulfide deposit. A site in the fen was studied to evaluate the hydrogeochemical mechanisms governing the development of Fe, Mn, Co, and Cu profiles in the peat. At the study site, surface peat approximately 1 m thick is separated from the underlying mineralized bedrock by a 6-12 m thickness of lake and glaciofluvial sediments and till. Concentrations of Fe, Mn, Co, and Cu in peat and major elements in pore water delineate a shallow, relatively oxidized, Cu-rich zone overlying a deeper, reduced, Fe-, Mn-, and Co-rich zone within the peat. Sequential metal extractions from peat samples reveal that 40-55% of the Cu in the shallow zone is associated with organic material, whereas the remaining Cu is distributed between iron-oxide, sulfide, and residual fractions. Sixty to seventy percent of the Fe, Mn, and Co concentrated in the deeper zone occur in the residual phase. The metal profiles and associations probably result from non-steady-state input of metals and detritus into the fen during formation of the peat column. The enrichment of organic-associated Cu in the upper, oxidized zone represents a combination of Cu transported into the fen with detrital plant fragments and soluble Cu, derived from weathering of outcrop and subcrop of the mineral deposit, transported into the fen, and fixed onto organic matter in the peat. The variable stratigraphy of the peat indicates that weathering processes and surface vegetation have changed through time in the fen. The Fe, Mn, and Co maxima at the base of the peat are associated with a maximum in detrital matter content of the peat resulting from a transition between the underlying inorganic sedimentary environment to an organic sedimentary environment. The chemistry of sediments and ground water collected beneath the peat indicate that mobilization of metals from sulfide minerals in the buried mineral deposit or glacial deposits is minimal. Therefore, the primary source of Cu to the peat at the study site is outcrops and shallow subcrops of the mineral deposit adjacent to the fen. ?? 1990.
Additional publication details
Mechanisms controlling Cu, Fe, Mn, and Co profiles in peat of the Filson Creek Fen, northeastern Minnesota