Soil Research Soil Research Society
Soil, land care and environmental research
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Occurrence of marcasite in an organic-rich Holocene estuarine mud

Richard T. Bush A , Roger McGrath A and Leigh A. Sullivan A

Centre for Acid Sulfate Soil Research, School of Resource Science and Management, Southern Cross University, Lismore 2480, NSW, Australia.

Australian Journal of Soil Research 42(6) 617-621 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SR03079
Submitted: 16 May 2003  Accepted: 3 May 2004   Published: 17 September 2004

Abstract

Substantial marcasite and pyrite were recently identified in the upper-most unoxidised Holocene clay–peat sediments at Bungawalbin Swamp, a coastal backswamp on the Richmond River floodplain, north-east New South Wales, Australia. Marcasite (FeS2), the mineral dimorph of pyrite, is considered a rare secondary mineral in estuarine sediments and its abundance at Bungawalbin Swamp is highly unusual. The morphology and distribution of marcasite in the sulfidic sedimentary profile was examined and compared with the palynological record. Marcasite, recognised by its distinctive platy morphology and disulfide composition, occurred exclusively within organic remnants in only the upper most 1 m of the sulfidic sediment layer. Pyrite occurred throughout the sulfidic profile. A dramatic change in the sedimentary conditions at Bungawalbin Swamp from a marine environment, characterised by the presence of avicenniaceae (i.e. mangrove), to a fresh–brackish environment correlates directly with the occurrence of marcasite. The occurrence of substantial marcasite may provide a valuable environmental proxy of fresh–brackish depositional swamp environments.

Additional keywords: iron sulfide, pyrite, acid sulfate soil, sulfidic.


References

Berner RA 1970 Sedimentary pyrite formation. American Journal of Science 268 1 23

Bullock P 1985 ‘Handbook for soil thin section description.’ WAINE Research Publications Wolverhampton, UK


Bush RT 2000 Micromorphology and mineralogy of iron sulfides in acid sulfate soils: their formation and behaviour. PhD thesis, University of New South Wales, Australia.


Bush RT Sullivan LA 1997 Morphology and behaviour of greigite from a Holocene sediment in eastern Australia. Australian Journal of Soil Research 35 853 861


Dent D 1986 ‘Acid sulphate soils: a baseline for research and development.’ International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement Wageningen, The Netherlands
ILRI Publication No. 39.

Dixon JB Hossner LR Senkayi AL Egashira K 1982 Mineralogical properties of lignite overburden as they relate to mine spoil reclamation. ‘Acid Sulfate Weathering’. Kittrick JA 169 192 Soil Science Society of America Madison, WI


McGrath R Boyd WE 1998 Holocene vegetation history of Bundjalung national park and Bungawalbin Creek, north-eastern New South Wales. Australian Geographer 29 205 221


Munsell 1990 ‘Munsell color charts.’ Munsell Color Company Inc. Baltimore, MD


Northcote KH 1979 ‘A factual key for the recognition of Australian soils.’ Rellim Technical Publications Glenside, S. Aust.


Lennie AR Redfern SAT Champness PE Stoddart CP Schofield PF Vaughan DJ 1997 Transformation of mackinawite to greigite: An in-situ -ray powder diffraction and transmission electron microscope study. American Mineralogist 82 302 309


Roy PS 1984 New South Wales estuaries: Their origin and evolution. ‘Coastal geomorphology in Australia’. Thom BG 99 122 Academic Press Sydney


Schoonen MAA Barnes HL 1991 Reactions forming pyrite and marcasite from solution: II. Via FeS precursors below 100°C. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 55 1505 1514
DOI

Sullivan LA Bush RT 1997 Quantitative elemental microanalysis of rough-surfaced soil specimens in the scanning electron microscope using a peak-to-background method. Soil Science 162 749 757 DOI

Sullivan LA Bush RT McConchie DM 2000 Genesis and morphology of iron sulfides in gray kaolins. Australian Journal of Soil Research 38 729 734

Tulau MJ 1999 Acid sulphate soil management priority areas on the Lower Tweed floodplains. Department of Land and Water Conservation, Sydney.


Vaughan DJ Lennie AR 1991 The iron sulphide minerals: their chemistry and role in nature. Science Progress Edinburgh 75 371 388


White GN Dixon JB Weaver RM Kunkle AC 1991 Genesis and morphology of iron sulfides in gray kaolins. Clays and Clay Minerals 39 70 76


White I Melville MD Wilson BP Sammut J 1997 Reducing acidic discharges from coastal wetlands in eastern Australia. Wetlands Ecology and Management 5 55 72
DOI



Export Citation Cited By (10)