Using Stable Isotopes to Disentangle Marine Sedimentary Signals in Reactive Silicon Pools

Rebecca Pickering*, Lucie A Cassarino, Katharine Hendry, Xiangli Wang, Kanchan Maiti, Jeffrey Krause

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

23 Downloads (Pure)


Many studies use sedimentary biogenic silica (bSiO2) stable isotopes (e.g., δ30Si) as paleoproxies but neglect signals from other sedimentary reactive SiO2 phases. We quantified δ30Si for multiple reactive Si pools in coastal river‐plume sediments, revealing up to −5‰ difference between acid‐leachable and alkaline‐digestible amorphous SiO2. Thus, previous studies have missed valuable information on early diagenetic products and, in cases where sediments were not cleaned, potentially biased bSiO2 δ30Si values. Acid‐leachable δ30Si, that is, from authigenic products, are the result of either multistep fractionation from a bSiO2 source or an ~2‰ fractionation (consistent with metal hydroxide formation) from slowly dissolving lithogenic SiO2. This analysis also suggests that sedimentary diatom bSiO2, which has increased regionally in the last half‐century, is the critical substrate of early authigenic Si precipitates. Regional eutrophication, which has stimulated sedimentary bSiO2 accumulation, may have facilitated additional sequestration of both sedimentary Si and cations from early diagenetic products.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL087877
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number15
Early online date8 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2020


  • early diagenesis
  • authigenic coatings
  • biogenic silica
  • reactive silicon
  • stable silicon isotopes
  • Gulf of Mexico

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Using Stable Isotopes to Disentangle Marine Sedimentary Signals in Reactive Silicon Pools'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this