Quantifying fluid flow, solute mixing and biogeochemical turnover at cold vents of the eastern Aleutian subduction zone

Wallmann, Klaus, Linke, Peter, Suess, Erwin, Bohrmann, Gerhard, Sahling, Heiko, Dählmann, A., Lammers, Stephan, Greinert, Jens and von Mirbach, N. (1997) Quantifying fluid flow, solute mixing and biogeochemical turnover at cold vents of the eastern Aleutian subduction zone Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 61 (24). pp. 5209-5219. DOI 10.1016/s0016-7037(97)00306-2.

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In situ oxygen fluxes were measured at vent sites in the Aleutian trench at a water depth of almost 5000 m using a TV-guided benthic flux chamber. The flux was 2 orders of magnitude greater than benthic oxygen fluxes in areas unaffected by venting on the continental margin off Alaska. Porewater profiles taken from the surface sediment below a vent site showed high concentrations of sulfide, methane, and ammonia. The reduced carbon and nitrogen compounds are transported to the vent site by fluids expelled from deeper anoxic sediment layers by the forces of plate convergence. The tectonically driven fluid flow was determined from the biochemical turnover in vent communities and was found to be 3.4 ± 0.5 m yr−1. A model was used to quantify the transport of silica, Ca2+, and sulfate via diffusion, advection, and bioirrigation through the surface sediments of a vent site. A nonlocal mixing coefficient of 20–30 yr−1 was determined by fitting the model curves to the measured porewater profiles showing that the transport of solutes within the near-surface sediments and across the sediment-water interface is dominated by the activity of the vent fauna. Sulfate-containing oceanic bottom water and methane-rich vent fluids were mixed below the clam colony to produce sulfide and a CaCO3 precipitate. The vent biota shape their immediate environment and control the sediment-water exchange and the benthic fluxes at vent sites. The oxygen consumption at vent sites is a major sink for oxygen at the study area.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: cold vents, eastern Aleutian subduction zone, VESP (Vent Sampler)
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/s0016-7037(97)00306-2
ISSN: 0016-7037
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2008 15:05
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2017 06:32
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/8052

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