Sedimentary pyrite sulfur isotopes track the local dynamics of the Peruvian oxygen minimum zone

WashU affiliated authors: David A. Fike (Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences)

Abstract: Sulfur cycling is ubiquitous in sedimentary environments, where it mediates organic carbon remineralization, impacting both local and global redox budgets, and leaving an imprint in pyrite sulfur isotope ratios (δ34Spyr). It is unclear to what extent stratigraphic δ34Spyrvariations reflect local aspects of the depositional environment or microbial activity versus global sulfur-cycle variations. Here, we couple carbon-nitrogen-sulfur concentrations and stable isotopes to identify clear influences on δ34Spyr of local environmental changes along the Peru margin. Stratigraphically coherent glacial-interglacial δ34Spyr fluctuations (>30‰) were mediated by Oxygen Minimum Zone intensification/expansion and local enhancement of organic matter deposition. The higher resulting microbial sulfate reduction rates led to more effective drawdown and 34S-enrichment of residual porewater sulfate and sulfide produced from it, some of which is preserved in pyrite. We identify organic carbon loading as a major influence on δ34Spyr, adding to the growing body of evidence highlighting the local controls on these records.