Calibration of sulfate levels in the archean ocean

Science. 2002 Dec 20;298(5602):2372-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1078265.

Abstract

The size of the marine sulfate reservoir has grown through Earth's history, reflecting the accumulation of oxygen into the atmosphere. Sulfur isotope fractionation experiments on marine and freshwater sulfate reducers, together with the isotope record, imply that oceanic Archean sulfate concentrations were <200 microM, which is less than one-hundredth of present marine sulfate levels and one-fifth of what was previously thought. Such low sulfate concentrations were maintained by volcanic outgassing of SO2 gas, and severely suppressed sulfate reduction rates allowed for a carbon cycle dominated by methanogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Archaeoglobus fulgidus / growth & development
  • Archaeoglobus fulgidus / metabolism*
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Fresh Water / chemistry
  • Fresh Water / microbiology
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry*
  • Geologic Sediments / microbiology
  • Iron / analysis
  • Methane / metabolism
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen / analysis
  • Seawater / chemistry*
  • Seawater / microbiology
  • Sulfates / analysis*
  • Sulfates / metabolism
  • Sulfides / analysis
  • Sulfides / metabolism
  • Time

Substances

  • Sulfates
  • Sulfides
  • pyrite
  • Iron
  • Methane
  • Oxygen