Elements in Geochemical Tracers in Earth System Science-The Pyrite Trace Element Paleo-Ocean Chemistry Proxy


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The use of the trace element content of sedimentary pyrite as a proxy for the trace element composition of past oceans has recently emerged. The pyrite proxy has several potential advantages over bulk sample analysis: preservation through metamorphism; little dilution during analysis (samples are ablated not dissolved, allowing for the less abundant elements commonly held in the sulfide fraction to be investigated as proxies); accurate measurement of several elements simultaneously; the ability to screen sediments for hydrothermal overprint; and the technique can give information regarding trace element availably at multiple stages of diagenesis. Because of these multiple strengths, the pyrite trace element proxy is a valuable potential addition to the paleo-ocean chemistry tool kit.