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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-11-12
    Description: We present a transport-reaction model (TRACTION) specifically designed to account for non-ideal transport effects in the presence of thermodynamic (e.g. salinity or temperature) gradients. The model relies on the most fundamental concept of solute diffusion, which states that the chemical potential gradient (Maxwell’s model) rather than the concentration gradient (Fick’s law) is the driving force for diffusion. In turn, this requires accounting for species interactions by applying Pitzer’s method to derive species chemical potentials and Onsager coefficients instead of using the classical diffusion coefficients. Electrical imbalances arising from varying diffusive fluxes in multicomponent systems, like seawater, are avoided by applying an electrostatic gradient as an additional transport contribution. We apply the model to pore water data derived from the seawater mixing zone at the submarine Mercator mud volcano in the Gulf of Cadiz. Two features are particularly striking at this site: (i) Ascending halite-saturated fluids create strong salinity (NaCl) gradients in the seawater mixing zone that result in marked chemical activity, and thus chemical potential gradients. The model predicts strong transport-driven deviations from the mixing profile derived from the commonly used Fick’s diffusion model, and is capable of matching well with the profile shapes observed in the pore water concentration data. Even better agreement to the observed data is achieved when ion pairs are transported separately. (ii) The formation of authigenic gypsum (several wt%) occurs in the surface sediments, which is typically restricted to evaporitic surface processes. Very little is known about the gypsum paragenesis in the subseafloor and we first present possible controls on gypsum solubility, such as pressure, temperature, and salinity (pTS), as well as the common ion and ion pairing effects. Due to leaching of deep diapiric salt, rising fluids of the MMV are saturated with respect to gypsum (as well as celestite and barite). Several processes that could drive these fluids towards gypsum supersaturation and hence precipitation were postulated and numerically quantified. In line with the varied morphology of the observed gypsum crystals, gypsum paragenesis at the MMV is likely a combination of two temperature-related processes. Gypsum solubility increases with increasing temperature, especially in strong electrolyte solutions and the first mechanism involves the cooling of saturated fluids along the geothermal gradient during their ascent. Secondly, local temperature changes, i.e. cooling during the transition from MMV activity towards dormancy results in the cyclic build-up of gypsum. The model showed that the interpretation of field data can be majorly misguided when ignoring non-ideal effects in extreme diagenetic settings. While at first glance the pore water profiles at the Mercator mud volcano would indicate strong reactive influences in the seawater mixing zone, our model shows that the observed species distributions are in fact primarily transport-controlled. The model results for SO4 are particularly intriguing, as SO4 is shown to diffuse into the sediment along its increasing (!) concentration gradient. Also, a pronounced gypsum saturation peak can be observed in the seawater mixing zone. This peak is not related to the dissolution of gypsum but is simply a result of the non-ideal transport forces acting on the activity profile of SO4 and Ca profiles.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
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    PANGAEA
    In:  Supplement to: Haffert, Laura; Haeckel, Matthias (2019): Quantification of non-ideal effects on diagenetic processes along extreme salinity gradients at the Mercator mud volcano in the Gulf of Cadiz. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 244, 366-382, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2018.09.038
    Publication Date: 2019-04-30
    Description: Presented is an example of the transport-reaction code (TRACTION) applied to the simulation of pore water species in the seawater mixing zone at Mercator Mud volcano in the Gulf of Cadiz. TRACTION was specifically designed to account for non-ideal transport effects in the presence of thermodynamic (e.g. salinity or temperature) gradients. The model relies on the most fundamental concept of solute diffusion, which states that the chemical potential gradient (Maxwell's model) rather than the concentration gradient (Fick's law) is the driving force for diffusion. In turn, this requires accounting for species interactions by applying Pitzer's method to derive species chemical potentials and Onsager coefficients instead of using the classical diffusion coefficients. Electrical imbalances arising from varying diffusive fluxes in multicomponent systems, like seawater, are avoided by applying an electrostatic gradient as an additional transport contribution.
    Type: Dataset
    Format: application/zip, 1464.0 kBytes
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2017-11-19
    Description: One of the world‘s biggest manganese nodule fields on Earth is found in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCZ) in the NE Pacific Ocean at 4-5 km water depth. Commercial deep-sea mining activities will affect the deep-sea environment1. We assess the recovery state of controlled anthropogenic disturbances within the CCZ which were created between 1 day and up to 37 years prior to sampling. Here, we present pore-water and solid-phase data of the upper 20 cm of sediment of disturbed sites in comparison with adjacent undisturbed reference sites. We focus on the impact of anthropogenic disturbances on the geochemical conditions of the sediments.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Conference , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 4
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    ECO2 Project Office
    In:  ECO2 Deliverable, D12.1 . ECO2 Project Office, 14 pp.
    Publication Date: 2019-03-11
    Type: Report , NonPeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/book
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2019-03-11
    Type: Report , NonPeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/book
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-03-11
    Type: Report , NonPeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/book
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-04-27
    Description: Mud volcanoes are seafloor expressions of focused fluid flow that are common in compressional tectonic settings. New high-resolution 3-D seismic data from the Mercator mud volcano (MMV) and an adjacent buried mud volcano (BMV) image the internal structure of the top 800 m of sediment at both mud volcanoes, revealing that both are linked and have been active episodically. The total volumes of extruded mud range between 0.15 and 0.35 km3 and 0.02–0.05 km3 for the MMV and the BMV, respectively. The pore water composition of surface sediment samples suggests that halokinesis has played an important role in the evolution of the mud volcanoes. We propose that erosion of the top of the Vernadsky Ridge that underlies the mud volcanoes activated salt movement, triggering deep migration of fluids, dissolution of salt, and sediment liquefaction and mobilization since the end of the Pliocene. Since beginning of mud volcanism in this area, the mud volcanoes erupted four times while there was only one reactivation of salt tectonics. This implies that there are other mechanisms that trigger mud eruptions. The stratigraphic relationship of mudflows from the MMV and BMV indicates that the BMV was triggered by the MMV eruptions. This may either be caused by loading-induced hydrofracturing within the BMV or due to a common feeder system for both mud volcanoes. This study shows that the mud volcanoes in the El Arraiche mud volcano field are long-lived features that erupt with intervals of several tens of thousands of years.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2012-11-29
    Type: Conference or Workshop Item , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Takahe seep, located on the Opouawe Bank, Hikurangi Margin, is characterized by a well-defined subsurface seismic chimney structure ca. 80,500 m2 in area. Sub-seafloor geophysical data based on acoustic anomaly layers indicated the presence of gas hydrate and free gas layers within the chimney structure. Reaction-transport modeling was applied to porewater data from 11 gravity cores to constrain methane turnover rates and benthic methane fluxes in the upper 10 m. Model results show that methane dynamics were highly variable due to transport and dissolution of ascending gas. The dissolution of gas (up to 3761 mmol m−2 yr−1) dwarfed the rate of methanogenesis within the simulated sediment column (2.6 mmol m−2 yr−1). Dissolved methane is mainly consumed by anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) at the base of the sulfate reduction zone and trapped by methane hydrate formation below it, with maximum rates in the central part of the chimney (946 and 2420 mmol m−2 yr−1, respectively). A seep-wide methane budget was constrained by combining the biogeochemical model results with geophysical data and led to estimates of AOM rates, gas hydrate formation and benthic dissolved methane fluxes of 3.68 × 104 mol yr−1, 73.85 × 104 mol yr−1and 1.19 × 104 mol yr−1, respectively. A much larger flux of methane probably escapes in gaseous form through focused bubble vents. The approach of linking geochemical model results with spatial geophysical data put forward here can be applied elsewhere to improve benthic methane turnover rates from limited single spot measurements to larger spatial scales.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-08-29
    Description: The thriving interest in harvesting deep-sea mineral resources, such as polymetallic nodules, calls for environmental impact studies, and ultimately, for regulations for environmental protection. Industrial-scale deep-sea mining of polymetallic nodules most likely has severe consequences for the natural environment. However, the effects of mining activities on deep-sea ecosystems, sediment geochemistry and element fluxes are still poorly conceived. Predicting the environmental impact is challenging due to the scarcity of environmental baseline studies as well as the lack of mining trials with industrial mining equipment in the deep sea. Thus, currently we have to rely on small-scale disturbances simulating deep-sea mining activities as a first-order approximation to study the expected impacts on the abyssal environment. Here, we investigate surface sediments in disturbance tracks of seven small-scale benthic impact experiments, which have been performed in four European contract areas for the exploration of polymetallic nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ). These small-scale disturbance experiments were performed 1 day to 37 years prior to our sampling program in the German, Polish, Belgian and French contract areas using different disturbance devices. We show that the depth distribution of solid-phase Mn in the upper 20 cm of the sediments in the CCZ provides a reliable tool for the determination of the disturbance depth, which has been proposed in a previous study (Paul et al., 2018). We found that the upper 5–15 cm of the sediments were removed during various small-scale disturbance experiments in the different exploration contract areas. Transient transport-reaction modelling for the Polish and German contract areas reveals that the removal of the surface sediments is associated with the loss of reactive labile organic carbon. As a result, oxygen consumption rates decrease significantly after the removal of the surface sediments, and consequently, oxygen penetrates up to tenfold deeper into the sediments inhibiting denitrification and Mn(IV) reduction. Our model results show that the post-disturbance geochemical re-equilibration is controlled by diffusion until the reactive labile TOC fraction in the surface sediments is partly re-established and the biogeochemical processes commence. While the re-establishment of bioturbation is essential, the geochemical re-equilibration of the sediments is ultimately controlled by the burial rates of organic matter. Hence, under current depositional conditions, the new geochemical equilibrium in the sediments of the CCZ is reached only on a millennia scale even for these small-scale disturbances simulating deep-sea mining activities.
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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