Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Sedimentary rocks contain the largest mass of organic carbon on Earth, yet these reservoirs are not well integrated into modern carbon budgets. Here we describe the release of dissolved organic matter (DOM) from OM-rich sedimentary rocks under simulated weathering conditions. Results from column experiments demonstrate slow, sustained release of DOM from ancient sedimentary rocks under simulated weathering conditions. (1)H-NMR analysis of shale-derived DOM reveals a highly aliphatic, carbohydrate-poor material distinct from other natural DOM pools. Shale-derived DOM is rapidly assimilated and biodegraded by aerobic heterotrophic bacteria. Consequently, no compositional signature of shale-derived DOM other than (14)C-depletion is likely to persist in rivers or other surface reservoirs. Combined, these efforts show that dissolution provides a mechanism for the conversion of refractory kerogen into labile biomass, linking rock weathering with sedimentary OM oxidation and the delivery of aged OM to rivers and ocean margins.
Oxygen Geochemical Cycle; Solid-Phase Extraction; Cosmochim. Acta 66; Gulf-Of-Mexico; Black Shale; Chemical-Characterization; Atmospheric Oxygen; Atchafalaya River; Natural-Abundance; Beaufort Shelf
Schillawski, S and Petsch, S, Release of biodegradable dissolved organic matter from ancient sedimentary rocks (2008). Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 22(3).