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Tracing mechanisms controlling the release of dissolved silicon in forest soil solutions using Si isotopes and Ge/Si ratios
Cornelis, J.-T.; Delvaux, B.; Cardinal, D.; André, L.; Ranger, J.; Opfergelt, S. (2010). Tracing mechanisms controlling the release of dissolved silicon in forest soil solutions using Si isotopes and Ge/Si ratios. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 74(14): 3913-3924. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2010.04.056
In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Elsevier: Oxford,New York etc.. ISSN 0016-7037; e-ISSN 1872-9533, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Cornelis, J.-T.
  • Delvaux, B.
  • Cardinal, D.
  • André, L.
  • Ranger, J.
  • Opfergelt, S.

Abstract
    The terrestrial biogenic Si (BSi) pool in the soil–plant system is ubiquitous and substantial, likely impacting the land-ocean transfer of dissolved Si (DSi). Here, we consider the mechanisms controlling DSi in forest soil in a temperate granitic ecosystem that would differ from previous works mostly focused on tropical environments. This study aims at tracing the source of DSi in forest floor leachates and in soil solutions under various tree species at homogeneous soil and climate conditions, using stable Si isotopes and Ge/Si ratios. Relative to granitic bedrock, clays minerals were enriched in 28Si and had high Ge/Si ratios, while BSi from phytoliths was also enriched in 28Si, but had a low Ge/Si ratio. Such a contrast is useful to infer the relative contribution of silicate weathering and BSi dissolution in the shallow soil on the release of DSi in forest floor leachate solutions. The d30Si values in forest floor leachates (-1.38‰ to -2.05‰) are the lightest ever found in natural waters, and Ge/Si ratios are higher in forest floor leachates relative to soil solution. These results suggest dissolution of 28Si and Ge-enriched secondary clay minerals incorporated by bioturbation in organic-rich horizons in combination with an isotopic fractionation releasing preferentially light Si isotopes during this dissolution process. Ge/Si ratios in soil solutions are governed by incongruent weathering of primary minerals and neoformation of secondary clays minerals. Tree species influence Si-isotopic compositions and Ge/Si ratios in forest floor leachates through differing incorporation of minerals in organic horizons by bioturbation and, to a lesser extent, through differing Si recycling.

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