Integration of 3 Consecutive Years of Aqueous Geochemistry Monitoring Serpentinization at the Coast Range Ophiolite Microbial Observatory (CROMO), Northern California, USA
Friday, 19 December 2014
In August 2011, a set of 8 groundwater monitoring wells were established in actively serpentinizing ultramafic rocks of the Coast Range Ophiolite near Lower Lake, CA, as a NASA Astrobiology Institute project (Cardace et al., 2013). These wells have enabled repeated sampling and analysis of aqueous geochemistry, which we now present in an integrated model of the progress of serpentinization at this locality. The Coast Range Ophiolite Microbial Observatory (CROMO) plumbs groundwaters percolating through a tectonic mélange of Jurassic-aged oceanic crust, with blocks of metabasalt and metagabbro, variably serpentinized ultramafics, Great Valley Sequence sedimentary rocks including the Jurassic Knoxville formation and the Cretaceous Crack Canyon formation, as well as rocks resulting from silica-carbonate alteration of serpentinites (marginal listvenites). All of these rock units are accessible in the McLaughlin Natural Reserve (administered by the University of California-Davis). In this work, we report on persistent geochemical trends in CROMO waters, which are gas-rich, high pH (11+), Ca2+-OH- type waters, contrast their characteristics with other continental sites of serpentinization and deep sea serpentinizing vent systems, and place the evolution of these waters in a water-rock reaction context based on geochemical modeling.