, Volume 103, Issue 1–3, pp 263–279 | Cite as

Effects of hyper-enriched reactive Fe on sulfidisation in a tidally inundated acid sulfate soil wetland

  • Annabelle F. Keene
  • Scott G. Johnston
  • Richard T. Bush
  • Leigh A. Sullivan
  • Edward D. Burton
  • Angus E. McElnea
  • Colin R. Ahern
  • Bernard Powell


Solid phase Fe and S fractions were examined in an acid sulfate soil (ASS) wetland undergoing remediation via tidal inundation. Considerable diagenetic enrichment of reactive Fe(III) oxides (HCl- and dithionite-extractable) occurred near the soil surface (0–0.05 m depth), where extremely large concentrations up to 3534 μmol/g accounted for ~90% of the total Fe pool. This major source of reactive Fe exerts a substantial influence on S cycling and the formation, speciation and transformation of reduced inorganic S (RIS) in tidally inundated ASS. Under these geochemical conditions, acid volatile sulfide (AVS; up to 57 μmol/g) and elemental sulfur (S0; up to 41 μmol/g) were the dominant fractions of RIS in near surface soils. AVS–S to pyrite–S ratios exceeded 2.9 near the surface, indicating that abundant reactive Fe favoured the accumulation of AVS minerals and S0 over pyrite. This is supported by the significant correlation of poorly crystalline Fe with AVS–S and S0–S contents (r = 0.83 and r = 0.85, respectively, P < 0.01). XANES spectroscopy provided direct evidence for the presence of a greigite-like phase in AVS–S measured by chemical extraction. While the abundant reactive Fe may limit the transformation of AVS minerals and S0 to pyrite during early diagenesis (~5 years), continued sulfidisation over longer time scales is likely to eventually lead to enhanced sequestration of S within pyrite (with a predicted 8% pyrite by mass). These findings provide an important understanding of sulfidisation processes occurring in reactive Fe-enriched, tidally inundated ASS landscapes.


Acid sulfate soil Reactive iron Reduced inorganic sulfur Sulfidisation Tidal inundation Wetland 



Acid sulfate soil


Acid volatile sulfide


Chromium-reducible sulfur


Degree of pyritisation


Degree of sulfidisation


Reduced inorganic sulfur


X-ray absorption near-edge structure



We would like to thank the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) who facilitated this research and the assistance of DERM staff at the East Trinity field site is gratefully acknowledged. Synchrotron access was funded by the Australian Synchrotron Research Program and the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Centre (NSRRC) in Taiwan, and we thank Dr Rosalie Hocking of Monash University, Australia and Dr L-Y Jang of NSRRC, Taiwan for their assistance with XANES data collection. This research was supported by the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (Project No. 6-6-01-06/07). We thank the Editor and reviewers for their constructive comments on this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annabelle F. Keene
    • 1
  • Scott G. Johnston
    • 1
  • Richard T. Bush
    • 1
  • Leigh A. Sullivan
    • 1
  • Edward D. Burton
    • 1
  • Angus E. McElnea
    • 2
  • Colin R. Ahern
    • 2
  • Bernard Powell
    • 2
  1. 1.Southern Cross GeoScienceSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Environment and Resource ManagementIndooroopillyAustralia

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