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Serpentine alteration as source of high dissolved silicon and elevated δ 30 5 Si 6 values to the marine Si cycle.

Geilert, S. and Grasse, P. and Wallman, K. and Liebetrau, V. and Menzies, C.D. (2020) 'Serpentine alteration as source of high dissolved silicon and elevated δ 30 5 Si 6 values to the marine Si cycle.', Nature communications., 11 . 5123 .


Serpentine alteration is recognized as an important process for element cycling, however, related silicon fluxes are unknown. Pore fluids from serpentinite seamounts sampled in the Mariana forearc region during IODP Expedition 366 were investigated for their Si, B, and Sr isotope signatures (δ30Si, δ11B, and 87Sr/86Sr, respectively) to study serpentinization in the mantle wedge and shallow serpentine alteration to authigenic clays by seawater. While serpentinization in the mantle wedge caused no significant Si isotope fractionation, implying closed system conditions, serpentine alteration by seawater led to the formation of authigenic phyllosilicates, causing the highest natural fluid δ30Si values measured to date (up to +5.2 ± 0.2‰). Here we show that seafloor alteration of serpentinites is a source of Si to the ocean with extremely high fluid δ30Si values, which can explain anomalies in the marine Si budget like in the Cascadia Basin and which has to be considered in future investigations of the global marine Si cycle.

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Date accepted:15 September 2020
Date deposited:05 October 2020
Date of first online publication:12 October 2020
Date first made open access:22 October 2020

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