Iron oxide minerals in dust-source sediments from the Bodélé Depression, Chad: Implications for radiative properties and Fe bioavailability of dust plumes from the Sahara

Aeolian Research
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

Atmospheric mineral dust can influence climate and biogeochemical cycles. An important component of mineral dust is ferric oxide minerals (hematite and goethite) which have been shown to influence strongly the optical properties of dust plumes and thus affect the radiative forcing of global dust. Here we report on the iron mineralogy of dust-source samples from the Bodélé Depression (Chad, north-central Africa), which is estimated to be Earth’s most prolific dust producer and may be a key contributor to the global radiative budget of the atmosphere as well as to long-range nutrient transport to the Amazon Basin. By using a combination of magnetic property measurements, Mössbauer spectroscopy, reflectance spectroscopy, chemical analysis, and scanning electron microscopy, we document the abundance and relative amounts of goethite, hematite, and magnetite in dust-source samples from the Bodélé Depression. The partition between hematite and goethite is important to know to improve models for the radiative effects of ferric oxide minerals in mineral dust aerosols. The combination of methods shows (1) the dominance of goethite over hematite in the source sediments, (2) the abundance and occurrences of their nanosize components, and (3) the ubiquity of magnetite, albeit in small amounts. Dominant goethite and subordinate hematite together compose about 2% of yellow-reddish dust-source sediments from the Bodélé Depression and contribute strongly to diminution of reflectance in bulk samples. These observations imply that dust plumes from the Bodélé Depression that are derived from goethite-dominated sediments strongly absorb solar radiation. The presence of ubiquitous magnetite (0.002–0.57 wt%) is also noteworthy for its potentially higher solubility relative to ferric oxide and for its small sizes, including PM < 0.1 μm. For all examined samples, the average iron apportionment is estimated at about 33% in ferric oxide minerals, 1.4% in magnetite, and 65% in ferric silicates. Structural iron in clay minerals may account for much of the iron in the ferric silicates. We estimate that the mean ferric oxides flux exported from the Bodélé Depression is 0.9 Tg/yr with greater than 50% exported as ferric oxide nanoparticles (<0.1 μm). The high surface-to-volume ratios of ferric oxide nanoparticles once entrained into dust plumes may facilitate increased atmospheric chemical and physical processing and affect iron solubility and bioavailability to marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Iron oxide minerals in dust-source sediments from the Bodélé Depression, Chad: Implications for radiative properties and Fe bioavailability of dust plumes from the Sahara
Series title Aeolian Research
DOI 10.1016/j.aeolia.2016.07.001
Volume 22
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 93
Last page 106