Main content area

Redox processes in pore water of anoxic sediments with shallow gas

Ramírez-Pérez, A.M., de Blas, E., García-Gil, S.
The Science of the total environment 2015 v.538 pp. 317-326
anaerobic conditions, biodegradation, detection limit, gravity, iron, manganese, methane, methane production, organic matter, oxidation, pH, sediments, sulfates, sulfides, sulfur, Spain
The Ría de Vigo (NW Spain) has a high organic matter content and high rates of sedimentation. The microbial degradation of this organic matter has led to shallow gas accumulations of methane, currently distributed all along the ría. These peculiar characteristics favor the development of anoxic conditions that can determine the dynamics of iron and manganese.In order to study the role played by iron and manganese in the processes that take place in anoxic sediments with shallow gas, four gravity cores were retrieved in anoxic sediments of the Ría de Vigo in November 2012. Methane was present in two of them, below 90cm in the inner zone and below 200cm, in the outer zone. Pore water was collected and analyzed for vertical profiles of pH, sulfide, sulfate, iron and manganese concentrations. Sulfate concentrations decreased with depth but never reached the minimum detection limit. High sulfide concentrations were measured in all cores. The highest sulfide concentrations were found in the inner zone with methane and the lowest were in the outer zone without methane. Concentrations of iron and manganese reached maximum values in the upper layers of the sediment, decreasing with depth, except in the outer zone without gas, where iron and manganese concentration increased strongly toward the bottom of the sediment.In areas with shallow gas iron reduction, sulfate reduction and methane production processes coexist, showing that the traditional redox cascade is highly simplified and suggesting that iron may be involved in a cryptic sulfur cycle and in the oxidation of methane.