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Simultaneous release of metals and sulphide in lacustrine sediment.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date1/10/2003
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Number of pages8
Original languageEnglish


A single DGT (diffusive gradient in thin films) probe that could measure metals and sulfide simultaneously and at the same location was deployed in the surface sediment of a productive lake (Esthwaite Water). It contained a layer of AgI that binds sulfide overlying a layer of chelating resin that binds metals. Analysis for sulfide in two dimensions showed local sources of sulfide, 1−5 mm in diameter, at 8−11 cm depth within the sediment. A transect of trace metals measured at 100-μm intervals through the largest sulfide “hot spot” demonstrated concomitant release of Fe, Mn, Cu, Ni, and Co. Substantial supersaturation with respect to metal sulfides was observed for Fe and Co at the site of metal generation, but at a distance of less than 1 mm, solution concentrations were consistent with equilibration with amorphous FeS and CoS phases. Simple mass balance calculations were consistent with Fe being supplied from reductive dissolution of its oxides and with sulfide being supplied from reduction of sulfate. The observed concentrations of Cu, Ni, Co, and Mn could be accounted for by their release from iron oxides without invoking Mn reduction. The metals are removed rapidly (1 min) at the edge of the hot spot. These first observations of the simultaneous release of trace metals and sulfide are consistent with the known removal of metals by formation of their insoluble sulfides if the in situ kinetics of metal sulfide formation is on this time scale. The coproduction of reduced Fe and S suggests that iron- and sulfate-reducing bacteria may exist together in the same localized zone of actively decomposing organic matter.