Methane-derived CO2 in pore fluids expelled from the Oregon subduction zone

Suess, Erwin and Whiticar, M. J. (1989) Methane-derived CO2 in pore fluids expelled from the Oregon subduction zone Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 71 (1-2). pp. 119-136. DOI 10.1016/0031-0182(89)90033-3.

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Pore fluids extracted from near-surface sediments of the deformation front along the Oregon subduction zone have, in general, the dissolved nutrient pattern characteristic of bacterial sulfate reduction. However, in certain locations there are peculiar ammonium distributions and anomalously 13C-depleted dissolved ΣCO2. These carbon isotope and nutrient patterns are attributed to the concurrent microbially-mediated oxidation of sedimentary organic matter (POC) and methane (CH4) originating from depth. In contrast to the oxidation of sedimentary organic matter in the sulfate zone, utilization of methane as the carbon source by sulfate-reducing bacteria would generate only half as much total carbon dioxide for each mole of sulfate consumed and would not generate any dissolved ammonium. The isotopically light ΣCO2 released from methane oxidation depletes the total metabolic carbon dioxide pool. Therefore, NH4+, ΣCO2 and δ13C of interstitial carbon dioxide in these pore fluids distintcly reflect the combined contributions of each of the two carbon substrates undergoing mineralization; i.e. methane and sedimentary organic matter. By appropriately partitioning the nutrient and substrate relationships, we calculate that in the area of the marginal ridge of the Oregon subduction zone as much as 30% of the ΣCO2 in pore fluids may result from methane oxidation. The calculation also predicts that the carbon isotope signature of the carbon dioxide derived from methane is between −35‰ and −63‰ PDB. Such an isotopically light gas generated from within the accretionary complex could be the residue of a biogenic methane pool. Fluid advection is required to carry such methane from depth to the present near-surface sediments. This mechanism is consistent with large-scale, tectonically-induced fluid transport envisioned for accreted sediments of the world's convergent plate boundaries.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Oregon subduction zone, pore fluids, methane, CO2
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/0031-0182(89)90033-3
ISSN: 0031-0182
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2016 15:05
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2018 13:24

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