Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 287–299

Loss on ignition: a qualitative or quantitative method for organic matter and carbonate mineral content in sediments?

  • Juan I. Santisteban
  • Rosa Mediavilla
  • Enrique López-Pamo
  • Cristino J. Dabrio
  • M. Blanca Ruiz Zapata
  • M. José Gil García
  • Silvino Castaño
  • Pedro E. Martínez-Alfaro
Article

DOI: 10.1023/B:JOPL.0000042999.30131.5b

Cite this article as:
Santisteban, J.I., Mediavilla, R., López-Pamo, E. et al. Journal of Paleolimnology (2004) 32: 287. doi:10.1023/B:JOPL.0000042999.30131.5b

Abstract

Since the publication of the paper of , loss on ignition (LOI) has been widely used as a method to estimate the amount of organic matter and carbonate mineral content (and indirectly of organic and inorganic carbon) in sediments. The relationships between LOI at 550 °C (LOI550) and organic carbon (OC) content and between LOI at 950 °C (LOI950) and inorganic carbon (IC) content are currently accepted as a standard. However, the comparison of 150 analyses of samples of diverse lithologies, collected from a single core, reveals that these relationships are affected by sediment composition (presence of clays, salts, and the variable content of organic carbon). This results in an incremental error on the estimation of carbon content from LOI values that invalidates the use of LOI values as a quantitative method for estimating carbon content. Conversely, the general trends of LOI550 and LOI950 show a good correlation with carbon content (both organic and inorganic) allowing use of LOI as a qualitative test for carbon content. Similarly, in our case, LOI at 105 °C (LOI105) is a good qualitative proxy for the trends in gypsum content.

Carbonates Clays Evaporites Lake sediments Loss on ignition Organic matter 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan I. Santisteban
    • 1
    • 1
  • Rosa Mediavilla
    • 2
  • Enrique López-Pamo
    • 3
  • Cristino J. Dabrio
    • 1
  • M. Blanca Ruiz Zapata
  • M. José Gil García
  • Silvino Castaño
    • 4
  • Pedro E. Martínez-Alfaro
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Stratigraphy, Faculty of Geological SciencesUniversity Complutense of Madrid28040-MadridSpain
  2. 2.Dirección de Geología y GeofísicaInstituto Geológico y Minero de EspañaTres Cantos, MadridSpain
  3. 3.Dirección de Recursos Minerales y GeoambienteInstituto Geológico y Minero de EspañaMadridSpain
  4. 4.Dirección de Hidrogeología y Aguas SubterráneasInstituto Geológico y Minero de EspañaMadridSpain
  5. 5.Department of Geodynamics, Faculty of Geological SciencesUniversity Complutense of MadridMadridSpain

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