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Stromatolitic fabric of authigenic carbonate crusts: result of anaerobic methane oxidation at cold seeps in 4,850 m water depth

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Greinert,  J.
Nutrient Group, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Bohrmann,  G.
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Elvert,  M.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Greinert, J., Bohrmann, G., & Elvert, M. (2002). Stromatolitic fabric of authigenic carbonate crusts: result of anaerobic methane oxidation at cold seeps in 4,850 m water depth. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 91(4), 698-711.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-D2F1-1
Abstract
Methane seepage leads to Mg-calcite and aragonite precipitation at a depth of 4,850 m on the Aleutian accretionary margin. Stromatolitic and oncoid growth structures imply encrustation of microorganisms (microbial mats) in the host sediment with a unique growth direction downward into the sediment, forming crust-shaped lithologies. Biomarker investigations of the residue after carbonate dissolution show strong enrichments in crocetane and archaeol, which contain extremely low delta(13)C values. This indicates the presence of methane-consuming archaea, and delta(13)C values of -42 to -51% PDB indicate that methane is the carbon source for the carbonate crusts. Thus, it appears that stromatolitic encrustations of methanotrophic anaerobic archaea probably occurs in a consortium with sulphate-reducing bacteria and that carbonate precipitation proceeds downward into the sediment, where ascending cold fluids provide a methane source. Strontium and oxygen isotope analyses as well as C-14 ages of the carbonates suggest that the fluids come from deep within the sediment and that carbonate precipitation began about 3,000 years ago.