Insights into redox cycling of sulfur and iron in peatlands using high-resolution diffusive equilibrium thin film (DET) gel probe sampling
Bottrell, S.H., Mortimer, R.J., Spence, M., Krom, M.D., Clark, J. M. and Chapman, P.J. (2007) Insights into redox cycling of sulfur and iron in peatlands using high-resolution diffusive equilibrium thin film (DET) gel probe sampling. Chemical Geology, 244 (3-4). pp. 409-420. ISSN 0009-2541
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2007.06.028
High spatial resolution vertical profiles of pore-water chemistry have been obtained for a peatland using diffusive equilibrium in thin films (DET) gel probes. Comparison of DET pore-water data with more traditional depth-specific sampling shows good agreement and the DET profiling method is less invasive and less likely to induce mixing of pore-waters. Chloride mass balances as water tables fell in the early summer indicate that evaporative concentration dominates and there is negligible lateral flow in the peat. Lack of lateral flow allows element budgets for the same site at different times to be compared. The high spatial resolution of sampling also enables gradients to be observed that permit calculations of vertical fluxes. Sulfate concentrations fall at two sites with net rates of 1.5 and 5.0nmol cm− 3 day− 1, likely due to a dominance of bacterial sulfate reduction, while a third site showed a net gain in sulfate due to oxidation of sulfur over the study period at an average rate of 3.4nmol cm− 3 day− 1. Behaviour of iron is closely coupled to that of sulfur; there is net removal of iron at the two sites where sulfate reduction dominates and addition of iron where oxidation dominates. The profiles demonstrate that, in addition to strong vertical redox related chemical changes, there is significant spatial heterogeneity. Whilst overall there is evidence for net reduction of sulfate within the peatland pore-waters, this can be reversed, at least temporarily, during periods of drought when sulfide oxidation with resulting acid production predominates.