Organic-rich sediments in brine-filled Shaban- and Kebrit Deeps, Northern Red Sea.

Botz, Reiner, Schmidt, Mark , Wehner, H., Hufnagel, H. and Stoffers, Peter (2007) Organic-rich sediments in brine-filled Shaban- and Kebrit Deeps, Northern Red Sea. Open Access Chemical Geology, 244 . pp. 520-553. DOI 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2007.07.004.

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Abstract

The element compositions Si, Ca and Al of up to 2 1.1 ka old sediments in about 10 in long cores from the southern basin of the Shaban and Kebrit deeps in the northern Red Sea allowed a classification of major sediment types in carbonate sands and -muds and siliceous oozes. A FeOOH-enriched sediment horizon and a few samples with high Zn values in the Kebrit core indicate a hydrothermal origin probably near the brine-sea water interface with subsequent transport of hydrothermal compounds into the deep sediments. High organic carbon contents up to 8.4% are positively correlated with the Ba concentrations, which suggests that high bioproductivity, and rapid deposition (C-14 dating suggests a sedimentation rate near 70 cm/ka) led to the formation of sapropelic sediments between 11.8 and 13.6 ka (Younger Dryas). Organic petrological observations showed that the sediment organic material largely consists of <20 gm-sized roundish fecal pellets (intimate mixtures of organic matter and inorganic constituents) and bituminite. Terrestrial organic matter (pollens of land plants, fusinite etc.) is very rare in the sediment cores from both deeps. Organic-geochemical investigations of kerogens and organic extracts show that a significant (hydrothermal) hydrocarbon production did not occur in near-surface sediments of the Shaban and Kebrit deeps. Rock Eval pyrolysis of kerogens characterised the organic matter to be of type II quality. The delta C-13 values of the kerogens from the most prominent sapropel in the Shaban deep indicate an enrichment of(C-12-rich) nutrients in the water column during postglacial sapropel formation in the Younger Dryas. The n-alkane spectra are dominated by short chain lengths between n-C-15 and n-C-25 Prevailing n-C-15 to n-C-25 alkanes in low mature sediments are indicative of algal and microbial source. Pristane/phytane ratios are generally low (< I to similar to 1) which suggests that anoxic conditions prevailed within the anaerobic brine-filled deeps for the whole time covered by the sediments. This again indicates that sapropel formation was caused by high bioproductivity in the northern Red Sea rather than episodic stagnation with better preservation of the organic matter. Long-chain alkenones and sterols are the dominating compounds of the lipid fraction. Cholesterol contents in the sediment cores reflect phases of eukaryotes production in the water column, whereas the positive correlations of dinosterol with TOC and the amounts of total extract suggests that the major organic carbon source in the northern Red Sea during postglacial high-productivity stages were dinoflagellates. Another important carbon source, however, is indicated by the occurrence of 22,29,30-trisnorhopan-21 -one (TNH). Although the formation of TNH from its precursors is not fully understood, this compound probably results from microbial. degradation of intact bacteriohopanepolyols (BHP), which can be used as indicators for bacterial abundances and phyla. TNH is most likely produced at the brine-sea water interface where sedimenting organic matter accumulates and, if the redoxcline corresponds to the density gradient, the organic matter is subjected to efficient aerobic bacterial degradation processes. However, during high bioproductivity stage (Younger Dryas) the redoxcline was probably higher in the water column and thus, a significant TNH production at the brine-sea water interface did not occur at times of sapropel formation in the northern Red Sea deeps. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Geochemistry; Red Sea deeps; biomarker; brine; sapropel; trisnorhopane ATLANTIS-II-DEEP; HYDROGRAPHIC STRUCTURE; GENERAL-CIRCULATION; SEAWATER INTERFACE; SURFACE SEDIMENTS; LIPID BIOMARKERS; EARLY DIAGENESIS; MATTER DELIVERY; LATE QUATERNARY; ISOTOPE RATIOS
Research affiliation: Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2007.07.004
ISSN: 0009-2541
Projects: EUROMARGINS
Expeditions/Models/Experiments:
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2011 10:32
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2017 07:44
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/11630

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