Geochemistry of a marine phosphate deposit: A signpost to phosphogenesis

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The Permian age Phosphoria Formation in southeastern Idaho and adjoining states represents possibly the largest marine phosphate deposit in the world. The Meade Peak Member, which contains the highest concentrations and amount of carbonate fluorapatite in the formation, was not significantly altered by mechanical reworking during deposition or subsequently by chemical weathering. Thus, its present composition reflects properties of the Phosphoria Sea that were critical to its accumulation and possibly to the accumulation of most major marine phosphate deposits. These properties included the chemistry of the water column, the hydrography, and the level of primary productivity. Calculated accumulation rates of the PO43− and trace nutrients – Cd, Cu, Ni, and Zn – recorded a dynamic upwelling rate of c.30 m year−1 that supported primary productivity of 2g C m−2day−1. High accumulation rates of the hydrogenous redox-sensitive trace metals – Cr, Mo, U, and V – reflect bottom-water redox conditions that were dominantly suboxic, maintained by a balance between the oxidation of ~ 8% of the organic detritus that settled out of the photic zone and advection of bottom water with a residence time of c.10 years. A limited flux into the basin of siliciclastic lithogenous debris contributed further to elevated concentrations of the seawater-derived sediment fractions.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Geochemistry of a marine phosphate deposit: A signpost to phosphogenesis
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-08-095975-7.01112-8
Volume 13
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Western Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center
Description 20 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Treatise on geochemistry
First page 293
Last page 312
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