EKU Faculty and Staff Scholarship


Physics, Geosciences, and Astronomy

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



Patterns of sulfide sulfur concentration and sulfur isotopic composition (d34 S) are perhaps related to upward methane transport, especially in sediments underlain by methane gas hydrate deposits. Increased methane delivery augments the effect of anaerobic methane oxidation (AMO) occurring at the sulfate-methane interface (SMI). Sulfate and methane co-consumption results in production of dissolved sulfide at the interface that is eventually sequestered within sulfide minerals (elemental sulfur, iron monosulfide, pyrite).

We examine the sediments of two piston cores collected over the Blake Ridge gas hydrate deposits (offshore southeastern United States) by extracting total sedimentary sulfide using chromium reduction. We use an improved titration procedure to assay for sulfide sulfur concentration that involves addition of an excess amount of potassium iodate/potassium iodide (KIO3/KI) solution in order to completely oxidize dissolved sulfide to elemental sulfur. The remaining iodine ions are then back-titrated with sodium thiosulfate solution, avoiding leakage of hydrogen sulfide gas, thus increasing measurement accuracy. Our results show that authigenic sulfide sulfur generally increases in concentration downcore from ~0.05 to peak concentrations approaching 0.4 weight per cent sulfur (dry weight). These results are consistent with localized sulfide production at the SMI and rapid sulfide mineral formation there. We will further test the hypothesis by examining d34 S values of authigenic sulfide minerals, expecting to see enrichments in d34 S near the interface. Discrete horizons showing sulfide mineralization with 34S enrichments potentially record periods of increased methane flux, highlighting an increased role for AMO as a biogeochemical process and perhaps identifying existence of underlying gas hydrates.

Journal Title

Geological Society of America Abstracts and Programs

Conference Name

Geological Society of America, regional meeting, Washington, DC