A Pore Fluid Study in the Transform Fault System of Western Haiti: Investigating Geochemical Processes and Hydrologic Pathways of the Fluids

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Christophe Monnin1, Anne Battani2, Livio Ruffine3, Nadine Ellouz2 and Sylvie D Leroy4, (1)University Paul Sabatier Toulouse III, Toulouse Cedex 09, France, (2)IFP Energies nouvelles, Rueil-Malmaison Cedex, France, (3)IFREMER, Plouzané, France, (4)University Pierre and Marie Curie Paris VI, istep, Paris, France
The area of Western Haiti is located between the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault (EPGF) and Ciabao-Oriente Septentrional fault systems. It has been investigated during the Haiti-SIS cruise (November-December 2012) by heat flow measurements and coring. These two strike-slip fault systems accommodate the relative motion between the Caribbean and North American plates. An aftershock study of the MW= 7, 12 January 2010 earthquake indicated that this event originated along the EPGF fault, while the septentrional fault has not been ruptured for about a century.

We focused coring operations on specific zones; faults, basin margins, ridge, deep basins delimated using structural/sedimentological surface data. The objective of the pore-fluid study was to determine both the pathways of the fluids and their origin in relation with the fault activity.

A total of 14 Kullenberg cores were collected for fluid sampling and sedimentological analyses. Overall, 99 pore fluids were extracted, using Rhizon® samplers. Major and minor dissolved elements were analyzed. The resulting dataset allows us to identify several diagenetic processes occurring within the upper section of the sedimentary column. For the fault-crossing zones, the vertical chloride and sulphate profiles where the dissolved-element concentrations are close to that of normal seawater suggest seawater downward flow (infiltration). There the faults would then act as recharge zones for fluid circulation. On the opposite, for cores recovered in the basins, dissolved element profiles exhibit variable shapes with sulfate concentration decreasing with depth (indicating organic matter oxydation or anaerobic oxidation of methane) These results will be combined with those from the emerged segment of the EPGF (that can be observed on land in Haiti) in order to have a picture of the hydrologic regime of the fault system, its capacity to act as a recharge zone and conversely to supply deep-seated fluids to the surface (discharge zones).