EMU Volume 13 – Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Mineralogy of marine sediment systems: a geochemical framework
Andrew C. Aplin and Kevin G. Taylor

Sediments are a major component of the ocean system and the composition of, and chemical processes acting upon, these sediments is controlled by many factors. In this chapter we outline the major types of marine sediment (lithogenous, biogenic, hydrogeneous and authigenic), discuss the sources of these and their chemical and mineral characteristics. The most abundant minerals are (oxyhydr)oxides, clay minerals, sulfides and carbonates, and all of these have been studied extensively, using a range of mineralogical techniques. A major aim of this chapter is to provide a framework by which the mineral transformations that take place upon, or just below, the sea-floor can be understood. There are significant thermodynamic, kinetic and biological controls on these transformations, and the interaction of these plays a major role in element cycling between the oceans and the lithosphere, and trace element-enrichment on the sea-floor and carbon burial and remineralization. Further, we conclude that more research is required on the interactions between minerals and bacteria within marine sediments, and on the role of amorphous oxide minerals delivered from land in early
burial reactions and mineral precipitations.

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