Natural Resources, School of



Date of this Version



Soil Syst. 2019, 3, 25; doi:10.3390/soilsystems3020025


2019 by the authors


Evidence of sulfate input and reduction in coastal freshwater wetlands is often visible in the black iron monosulfide (FeS) complexes that form in iron rich reducing sediments. Using a modified Indicator of Reduction in Soils (IRIS) method, digital imaging, and geostatistics, we examine controls on the spatial properties of FeS in a coastal wetland fresh-to-brackish transition zone over a multi-month, drought-induced saltwater incursion event. PVC sheets (10 - 15 cm) were painted with an iron oxide paint and incubated vertically belowground and flush with the surface for 24 h along a salt-influenced to freshwater wetland transect in coastal North Carolina, USA. Along with collection of complementary water and soil chemistry data, the size and location of the FeS compounds on the plate were photographed and geostatistical techniques were employed to characterize FeS formation on the square cm scale. Herein, we describe how the saltwater incursion front is associated with increased sulfate loading and decreased aqueous Fe(II) content. This accompanies an increased number of individual FeS complexes that were more uniformly distributed as reflected in a lower Magnitude of Spatial Heterogeneity at all sites except furthest downstream. Future work should focus on streamlining the plate analysis procedure as well as developing a more robust statistical based approach to determine sulfide concentration.