Clay mineral nanostructures regulate sequestration of organic carbon in typical fluvial sediments

Hongzhe Song, Zhifei Liu, Baozhi Lin, Yulong Zhao, Fernando P. Siringan, Chen Feng You

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The association between clay minerals and organic carbon is pivotal for understanding transport, burial, and preservation processes of sedimentary organic carbon. However, fine-scale microscopic studies are still limited in assessing the effect of diverse clay mineral structures and properties on organic carbon sequestration. In this study, we employed X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy analyses to investigate the nanoscale interaction between clay minerals and organic carbon of two typical fluvial sediment samples with contrasting clay mineral compositions and organic carbon origins. Sample from Taiwan shows abundant illite and chlorite with petrogenic organic carbon, while sample from Luzon has significant smectite with pedogenic organic carbon. We observed that the nanostructure of the clay minerals controls the distribution of organic carbon. In the Luzon sample, the organic carbon is tightly associated with smectite, occupying expandable interlayer spaces. In the Taiwan sample, however, the organic carbon is primarily confined on the surface and edge of illite. These findings offer valuable insights into the selective association of organic carbon with clay minerals and underscore the role of clay mineral nanolayer structures in governing the occurrence and preservation of organic carbon in sediments. A comprehensive understanding of these interactions is crucial for accurate assessments of carbon cycling and sequestration in the natural environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25825
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Feb 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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