Shirokova, Liudmilla S., Mavromatis, Vasileios, Bundeleva, Irina, Pokrovsky, Oleg S., Bénézeth, Pascale, Pearce, Christopher R., Gérard, E., Balor, S. and Oelkers, Eric H.
Can Mg isotopes be used to trace cyanobacteria-mediated magnesium carbonate precipitation in alkaline lakes?
Biogeosciences Discussions, 8, (4), . (doi:10.5194/bgd-8-6473-2011).
The fractionation of Mg isotopes was determined during the cyanobacterial mediated precipitation of hydrous magnesium carbonate precipitation in both natural environments and in the laboratory. Natural samples were obtained from Lake Salda (SE Turkey), one of the few modern environments on the Earth's surface where hydrous Mg-carbonates are the dominant precipitating minerals. This precipitation was associated with cyanobacterial stromatolites which were abundant in this aquatic ecosystem. Mg isotope analyses were performed on samples of incoming streams, groundwaters, lake waters, stromatolites, and hydromagnesite-rich sediments. Laboratory Mg carbonate precipitation experiments were conducted in the presence of purified Synechococcus sp cyanobacteria that were isolated from the lake water and stromatolites. The hydrous magnesium carbonates nesquehonite (MgCO3·3H2O) and dypingite (Mg5(CO3)4(OH)25(H2O)) were precipitated in these batch reactor experiments from aqueous solutions containing either synthetic NaHCO3/MgCl2 mixtures or natural Lake Salda water, in the presence and absence of live photosynthesizing Synechococcus sp. Bulk precipitation rates were not to affected by the presence of bacteria when air was bubbled through the system. In the stirred non-bubbled reactors, conditions similar to natural settings, bacterial photosynthesis provoked nesquehonite precipitation, whilst no precipitation occurred in bacteria-free systems in the absence of air bubbling, despite the fluids achieving a similar or higher degree of supersaturation. The extent of Mg isotope fractionation (Δ26Mgsolid-solution) between the mineral and solution in the abiotic experiments was found to be identical, within uncertainty, to that measured in cyanobacteria-bearing experiments, and ranges from −1.4 to −0.7 ‰. This similarity refutes the use of Mg isotopes to validate microbial mediated precipitation of hydrous Mg carbonates
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