Drivers of Iron Cycling in Sediments of the sub-Antarctic Island South Georgia

gerhard.kuhn [ at ]


Sediments of sub-Antarctic islands have been proposed to be important contributors to natural iron fertilization in the Southern Ocean [1, 2]. This potential contribution depends on biogeochemical processes within the sediment that may result in an iron benthic flux, most likely related to the degradation of organic matter (OM). Yet, the OM degradation pathways vary strongly among different sedimentary settings. We elucidate the role of environmental factors on the prevailing biogeochemical pathways and reaction rates at three contrasting sites of South Georgia, using comprehensive solid-phase and pore-water analyses, as well as transportreaction modelling. Samples were obtained along a transect from a glacial fjord towards the shelf during cruise ANTXXIX/ 4 of RV POLARSTERN in 2013. Oxygen penetration depth at all sites is <1 cm. Sediments recovered within the fjord are dominated by dissimilatory iron reduction (DIR) and show very high dissolved Fe2+ concentrations of up to 760 μM, while sulfide was not detected. In addition, Fe reduction below the sulfate/methane transition was observed. High input of reactive iron phases, possibly enhanced by bioturbation and bubble ebullition, appear to favour DIR as the dominant metabolic process for OM degradation in the basin like fjord. Shelf sediments outside the fjord are sulfidic throughout, with H2S formed primarily by anaerobic oxidation of methane. The conversion of Fe oxides into Fe sulfides significantly alters the initial sediment composition along the shelf, and impact the availability of iron to the water column. OM is of marine origin at all three sites (C:N~7), indicating that Fe oxide availability and reactivity rather than the carbon source determine whether iron or sulfate reduction dominantes. [1] Moore & Braucher (2008) Biogeosciences 5, 631-656. [2] Borrione et al., (2014) Biogeosciences 11, 1981–2001.

Item Type
Conference (Poster)
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Publication Status
Event Details
Goldschmidt Conference, 13 Aug 2017 - 18 Aug 2017, Paris, France.
Eprint ID
Cite as
Kirschenmann, E. , Henkel, S. , Mogollón, J. M. , Fischer, D. , Kuhn, G. , Torres, M. E. , Bohrmann, G. and Kasten, S. (2017): Drivers of Iron Cycling in Sediments of the sub-Antarctic Island South Georgia , Goldschmidt Conference, Paris, France, 13 August 2017 - 18 August 2017 .

[thumbnail of 2324.pdf]

Download (16kB) | Preview
Cite this document as:

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email

Geographical region

Research Platforms

ANT > XXIX > 4

Edit Item Edit Item