The purpose of this paper is to study the interactions of sulfur and carbon within and around the soil profile, water table, and the Marcellus Formation of a sampling site that is located in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Through the use of total sulfur analysis, total organic carbon analysis, dissolved organic carbon analysis, carbonate (inorganic carbon) analysis, and sulfate analysis it will be possible to accomplish this goal. Results show that sulfur and carbon is actively transported between the soil, pore water, and parent rock settings. Sulfur and organic carbon is released from the Marcellus shale through weathering. Once released, the carbon and sulfur enter the soil profile and the pore waters within it. High concentrations of organic sulfur and carbon exist towards the top of the soil profile. By analyzing the pore water content of the soil, it was possible to distinguish modern organic carbon from old preserved organic carbon. It was found that new organic carbon is found at the top of the soil profile and is due to the decaying matter located on the forest floor. High concentrations of sulfur can be attributed to this reason as well. It was also found that old organic matter is found towards the soil-regolith interface. The modern organic matter found at the top of the soil profile is more labile than the old organic matter that is found at the bottom of the soil profile. The trend observed for sulfur is similar to that of carbon. Organic sulfur can be found at the top of the soil profile and is sourced from decaying organic matter on the forest floor. However, the high sulfur concentrations that
exist near the bottom of the soil profile seem stem from different reasons other than organic matter. Here, high sulfur concentrations are attributed to the release of sulfur from within the Marcellus Formation, possibly sourced from pyrite.
Carone, A. (2012): Insight into the weathering of the Marcellus Shale through Sulfur and Carbon Analyses. Bachelor of Science, Pennsylvania State University, p. 72..