Carbonate and silicate cementation of siliciclastic sediments of the New Jersey shelf (IODP Expedition 313): relation with organic matter diagenesis and submarine groundwater discharge

Abstract

The New Jersey continental shelf extends 150 km off the shoreline. During IODP Expedition 313, siliciclastic deposits of late Eocene to late Pleistocene age were drilled down to 631, 669 and 755 m below seafloor at sites 27A, 28A and 29A respectively in very shallow waters (33.5 to 36 m depth). Pore water salinities display multilayered brackish-salty-brine units 10 to 170 m thick, where low-salinity water is preferentially stored in fine-grained sediments. The sharp boundaries of these buried aquifers are often marked by cemented layers a few centimetres thick. The mineralogy and scanning electron microscope observations of these layers show two phases of cementation by authigenic minerals: (1) the early carbonate cement is frequently associated with pyrite, and (2) the late silicate cement infills the residual porosity. The isotopic compositions of the carbonate cements vary widely: −2.4 < δ18O ‰ VPDB < +2.8; −15.1 < δ13C ‰ VPDB < +15.6. The δ18O values indicate that the carbonate cements precipitated with pore waters comprising variable mixtures of seawater and 18O-depleted fresh water originating from submarine groundwater discharge. The δ13C values of the carbonate cements are related to organic matter diagenesis, providing 13C-depleted dissolved inorganic carbon during bacterial sulphate reduction and anaerobic oxidation of methane, and 13C-rich dissolved inorganic carbon during methanogenesis. The diagenetic cementation processes included chemical weathering of reactive silicate minerals by the CO2-rich pore waters issued from organic matter diagenesis that released bicarbonate, cations and dissolved silica, which were further precipitated as carbonate and silicate cements. The estimated range of temperature (18±4 °C) during carbonate precipitation is consistent with carbonate cementation at moderate burial depths; however, silicate cementation occurred later during diagenesis at deeper burial depths.

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Acknowledgements

This research used samples and data provided by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP). The authors would like to thank Gerald Dickens for his very constructive review comments, which helped improve the article.

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Correspondence to Catherine Pierre.

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Pierre, C., Blanc-Valleron, M., Boudouma, O. et al. Carbonate and silicate cementation of siliciclastic sediments of the New Jersey shelf (IODP Expedition 313): relation with organic matter diagenesis and submarine groundwater discharge. Geo-Mar Lett 37, 537–547 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00367-017-0506-6

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Keywords

  • Carbon Isotopic Composition
  • Jarosite
  • Burial Depth
  • Submarine Groundwater Discharge
  • Carbonate Cement