Greigite as a marker of paleo sulphate methane transition zone (SMTZ) in cold seep environment of Krishna-Godavari (KG) Basin, Bay of Bengal, India.
Monday, 15 December 2014
Rockmagnetic results and electron microscopic observations on a sediment core retrieved from a proven cold seep environment of Krishna-Godavari (KG) Basin revealed an anomalously magnetically enhanced zone (17 - 23 mbsf) below the present-day SMTZ in the KG offshore basin. This zone is characterized by higher SIRM / k, kARM / SIRM and kfd % values indicating the presence of fine grained superparamagnetic (SP) sized ferrimagnetic iron sulphides minerals such as greigite formed due to anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM). Identification of such mineral phases and understanding the mechanism of their formation and preservation is of vital importance which could provide better understanding of the geochemical processes on the paleo – SMTZ. Magnetic concentrates extracted from this zone were characterised by transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive X- ray spectrometry. We observed two possible occurrences of magnetic phases within this sediment depths 17 - 23 mbsf. (a) authigenically formed SP sized ferrimagnetic inclusions of magnetite, pyrite and greigite within matrix of host siliceous grain, (b) poorly crystallized fine-grained magnetite with ill defined grain boundary possibily formed extracellulary by magnetotactic bacterias through biologically-induced mineralization. High methane fluxes as observed in this basin provides suitable environment for the formation of greigite in the vicinity of SMTZ. We hypothesize that due to availability of residual iron and low supply of hydrogen sulphide caused by downwards diffusion lead to preservation of greigite. The occurence of greigite as inclusion within the host silicate matrix might explain its preservation in this zone in spite of intense pyritization. The greigite would otherwise be converted to stable-form pyrite. It is challenging to explain the origin of biologically produced magnetite within 17 - 23 mbsf as it is expected to dissolve in this zone due to intense pyritization.