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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2003-01-01
    Description: Four seeps and mud extrusion features at the lake floor were discovered in August 1999 in the gas hydrate area in Lake Baikal's South Basin. This paper describes these features in detail using side-scan sonar, detailed bathymetry, measurements of near-bottom water properties, selected seismic profiles and heat flow data calculated from the depth of the hydrate layer as well as obtained from in situ thermoprobe measurements. The interpretation of these data is integrated with published geochemical data from shallow cores. The seeps are identified as methane seeps and appear as mud cones (maximum 24 m high, 800 m in diameter) or low-relief craters (maximum 8 m deep, 500 m in diameter) at the lake floor. Mud cones (estimated to be approximately 50-100 ka old) appear to be older than the craters and have a different structural setting. Mud cones occur at the crest of rollover structures, in the footwall of a secondary normal fault, while the craters occur at fault splays. The seeps are found in an area of high heat flow where the base of the gas hydrate layer shallows rapidly towards the vent sites from about 400 m to about 160 m below the lake floor. At the site of the seep, a vertical seismic chimney disrupts the sedimentary stratification from the base of the hydrate layer to the lake floor. Integration of these results leads to the interpretation that focused destabilization of gas hydrate caused massive methane release and forced mud extrusion at the lake floor and that the gas seeps and mud diapirs in Lake Baikal do not have a deep origin. This is the first time that methane seeps and/or mud volcanoes associated with gas hydrate decomposition have been observed in a sub-lacustrine setting. The finding suggests that gas hydrate destabilization can create large pore fluid overpressures in the shallow subsurface (〈500 m subsurface) and cause mud extrusion at the sediment surface.
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2016-06-07
    Description: Large quantities of methane are stored in hydrates and permafrost within shallow marine sediments in the Arctic Ocean. These reservoirs are highly sensitive to climate warming, but the fate of methane released from sediments is uncertain. Here, we review the principal physical and biogeochemical processes that regulate methane fluxes across the seabed, the fate of this methane in the water column, and potential for its release to the atmosphere. We find that, at present, fluxes of dissolved methane are significantly moderated by anaerobic and aerobic oxidation of methane. If methane fluxes increase then a greater proportion of methane will be transported by advection or in the gas phase, which reduces the efficiency of the methanotrophic sink. Higher freshwater discharge to Arctic shelf seas may increase stratification and inhibit transfer of methane gas to surface waters, although there is some evidence that increased stratification may lead to warming of sub-pycnocline waters, increasing the potential for hydrate dissociation. Loss of sea-ice is likely to increase wind speeds and sea-air exchange of methane will consequently increase. Studies of the distribution and cycling of methane beneath and within sea ice are limited, but it seems likely that the sea-air methane flux is higher during melting in seasonally ice-covered regions. Our review reveals that increased observations around especially the anaerobic and aerobic oxidation of methane, bubble transport, and the effects of ice cover, are required to fully understand the linkages and feedback pathways between climate warming and release of methane from marine sediments.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
    Format: application/pdf
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1745-6584
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geosciences
    Notes: The hydrogeological system of an ecologically sensitive alpine floodplain in the Valle di Blenio, Switzerland, was investigated using hydrochemical and 3H-3He dating methods. Water samples from six wells and from different surface locations were analyzed. The analysis of the concentrations of major ions in conjunction with age determination by the 3H-3He-method allowed the main hydrological properties of the system to be consistently characterized. Two geochemically distinct water zones can be distinguished: Ca-SO4-dominated water from the main river and Ca-HCO3-dominated floodplain water. The floodplain water component characterizes the whole floodplain including the surficial hillslope drainage system. Within the ground water samples, two spatially and temporally different types of water can be determined. A younger (age 〈 1.5 years), less mineralized water is found in the upper part of the aquifer during the summer season. The underlying aquifer zone contains older and more highly mineralized water. However, the general hydrochemical characterization of both types of ground water is similar. In winter, the water ages increase with decreasing ground water levels. Because precipitation is stored temporarily in the snow cover, the contribution of the younger near-surface ground water decreases, resulting in higher apparent water ages and higher mineralization in the upper zone of the aquifer. Water exchange between the main river and the ground water system is limited to ground water exfiltration from the shallow aquifer zone, whereas the hydrochemical separation of the deeper aquifer zone indicates the isolation of the deeper ground water from the main river.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: Highlights: • Clay dehydration water expelled from buried sediments drives mud volcanism. • Rise of fluids mediated by crustal-scale strike-slip faults cross-cutting wedge. • On active accretionary wedge, petroleum accumulations were dismantled in Neogene. • 4He enrichment and δ13C-CH4 ~−50‰ in fluids reflect an open hydrocarbon system. • Petroleum pools remain on shallow margin. Microbial gas vented out of active wedge. Abstract: A geochemical study of the composition of hydrocarbon gases and helium isotopes (3He/4He) in fluids from Mud Volcanoes (MVs) located on and out of the active accretionary wedge of the Gulf of Cadiz (GoC) provides information on fluid sources and migrations in deeply buried sediments. The GoC is a tectonically active segment of the Africa-Iberia plate boundary occluded beneath the thick sediments of an accretionary wedge dissected by crustal-scale strike-slip faults. Initially built during the Miocene Gibraltar Arc subduction, the wedge has since developed toward the W-NW in an oblique convergent setting. Interstitial water expelled from clays undergoing diagenesis in buried sediments drives mud volcanism on the wedge, with MVs located along strike-slip faults mediating fluid ascent. The large excess of radiogenic helium (4He) in all GoC fluids agrees with a clay mineral dehydration source of water. Hydrocarbon gases from all deepwater MVs bear methane having similar stable carbon isotope compositions of ~−50‰VPDB whether fluids are highly enriched in methane relative to heavier homologues (C2+) or not (Methane / (Ethane + Propane) ~10 to 10,000). We suggest that methane with −50‰VPDB was largely diffused out of early generating source rocks, and became dissolved in the water expelled by the buried sediments. Consistently, low 3He/4He ratios suggest an open hydrocarbon system: Petroleum accumulations and 3He dissolved in the original sedimentary pore water have mostly escaped into the water column during the major Late Neogene compressional events. At present, some MVs vent CH4-rich fluids from dewatering sediments, while other structures located on active thrusts additionally vent C2+-rich gases generated by active Cretaceous source intervals. By contrast, evaporitic seals preserved petroleum accumulations on the shallow Moroccan Margin, while the westernmost MVs located out of the accretionary wedge vent microbial gas.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: Marine transform faults and associated fracture zones (MTFFZs) cover vast stretches of the ocean floor, where they play a key role in plate tectonics, accommodating the lateral movement of tectonic plates and allowing connections between ridges and trenches. Together with the continental counterparts of MTFFZs, these structures also pose a risk to human societies as they can generate high magnitude earthquakes and trigger tsunamis. Historical examples are the Sumatra-Wharton Basin Earthquake in 2012 (M8.6) and the Atlantic Gloria Fault Earthquake in 1941 (M8.4). Earthquakes at MTFFZs furthermore open and sustain pathways for fluid flow triggering reactions with the host rocks that may permanently change the rheological properties of the oceanic lithosphere. In fact, they may act as conduits mediating vertical fluid flow and leading to elemental exchanges between Earth’s mantle and overlying sediments. Chemicals transported upward in MTFFZs include energy substrates, such as H2 and volatile hydrocarbons, which then sustain chemosynthetic, microbial ecosystems at and below the seafloor. Moreover, up- or downwelling of fluids within the complex system of fractures and seismogenic faults along MTFFZs could modify earthquake cycles and/or serve as “detectors” for changes in the stress state during interseismic phases. Despite their likely global importance, the large areas where transform faults and fracture zones occur are still underexplored, as are the coupling mechanisms between seismic activity, fluid flow, and life. This manuscript provides an interdisciplinary review and synthesis of scientific progress at or related to MTFFZs and specifies approaches and strategies to deepen the understanding of processes that trigger, maintain, and control fluid flow at MTFFZs.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2012-04-11
    Description: Lake Van is the fourth largest terminal lake in the world (volume 607 km3, area 3,570 km2, maximum depth 460 m), extending for 130 km WSW-ENE on the Eastern Anatolian High Plateau, Turkey. Within the sensitive climate region of north-eastern Anatolia, the Lake Van record, partly laminated, represents an excellent continental climate archive between the Black Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea that covers several glacial-interglacial cycles. Therefore, Lake Van is a key site within the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) for the investigation of the Quaternary climate evolution in the Near East. The ICDP drilling operation was carried out from July 2 to August 23, 2010. DOSECC, as operator of the deep drilling, has built the new Deep Lake Drilling System (DLDS), which was specifically designed for sampling sediments from deep lakes and which made its maiden voyage on Lake Van. The DSDL was operated at water depths of up to 360 m. Two sites were drilled and cores of 140 m (Northern Basin) and 220 m (Ahlat Ridge) depth were retrieved. The sediments of the very bottom document the initial phase of the lake formation, which was characterized by fresh water conditions. We collected a total recovered sediment core length of over 800 m, which allow an unprecedented look back in time at the scale of at least three glacial-interglacial cycles. Several meter thick tephra layers originating from volcanoes surrounding the lake were also recovered, allowing reconstructions of larger volcanic events and related environmental impacts. Furthermore, they offer through tephrachronology and radiogenic-isotope analyses the means to date the stratigraphic section beyond the range of radiocarbon. We will be able to present the first results of this campaign during the INQUA congress. This contribution is co-authored by the entire ‘PaleoVan’ scientific drilling party.
    Type: Conference or Workshop Item , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2012-07-06
    Type: Conference or Workshop Item , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2017-08-07
    Description: The concentration and carbon isotope values of dissolved methane were measured in the water column at Rock Garden, Omakere Ridge and Wairarapa areas in the first dedicated cold seep investigation along the Hikurangi Margin of New Zealand. These measurements provide a high resolution impression of the methane distribution in the water column and show that these seep sites are actively venting methane with varying intensity. The highest concentrations (up to 3500 nM) measured in water samples obtained from Conductivity–Temperature–Depth (CTD) operations were at Faure Site of Rock Garden. Here, seafloor bubble release was observed by ROV. The Omakere Ridge area is actively venting over almost its entire length (not, vert, similar 25 km), in particular at Bear's Paw, a newly discovered seep site. In the Wairarapa area another new seep site called Tui was discovered, where methane measurements often exceeded 500 nM. No evidence was obtained from water column or sea surface measurements along the Hikurangi Margin to indicate that methane from seeps is reaching the sea surface. In fact, a consistent upper boundary was observed at a density of 26.85 kg/m3, which occurs at about 500 m below sea surface, above which methane decreased to background concentrations. No obvious oceanographic feature is associated with this 500 m CH4 boundary. Bubble dissolution calculations show that about 500 m was also the model-derived maximum bubble rise height. A wide range of δ13CCH4 values from − 71 to − 19‰ (VPDB) were measured, with the highest CH4 concentrations having the lowest δ13CCH4 values of about − 71 to − 68‰. Simple mixing and isotope fractionation calculations show that changes of δ13CCH4 values are predominantly caused by the dilution of seep fluids with the seawater, with some anaerobic oxidation also occurring.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 9
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    AGU (American Geological Union)
    In:  Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 92 (51). pp. 477-479.
    Publication Date: 2017-02-10
    Description: Sedimentary archives host a wealth of information that can be used to reconstruct paleoclimate as well as the tectonic and volcanic histories of specific regions. Long and continuous archives from the oceans have been collected in thousands of locations by scientific ocean drilling programs over the past 40 years. In contrast, suitable continental archives are rare because terrestrial environments are generally nondepositional and/or subject to erosion. Lake sediments provide ideal drilling targets to overcome this limitation if suitable lakes at key locations have existed continuously for a long time.
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2014-04-22
    Description: Recently developed analytical techniques to determine the abundances of noble gases in sediment pore water allow noble-gas concentrations and isotope ratios to be measured easily and routinely in lacustrine sediments. We applied these techniques for the first time to ocean sediments to investigate an active cold methane seepage system located in the South Pacific off the coast of the North Island of New Zealand using 3He/4He ratios determined in the sediment pore water. The results show that more 3He-rich fluids are released in the vicinity of the Pacific–Australian subduction zone than at the forearc stations located closer to the New Zealand coast. However, the He isotope signature in the sediment column indicates that only a minor part of the He emanating from deeper strata originates from a depleted mantle source. Hence, most He in the pore water is produced locally by the radioactive decay of U and Th in the sediment minerals or in the underlying crustal rocks. Such an occurrence of isotopically heavy crustal He also suggests that the source of the largest fraction of methane is a near-surface geochemical reservoir. This finding is in line with a previous δ13C study in the water column which concluded that the emanating methane is most likely of biological origin and is formed in the upper few meters of the sediment column. Moreover, the prevalence of isotopically heavy He agrees well with the outcome of other previous studies on island arc systems which indicate that the forearc regions are characterized by crustal He emission, whereas the volcanic arc region is characterized by the presence of mantle He associated with rising magma.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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