Authigenic Carbonate Formation on the Peru Margin; New Insights from IODP Site 1230
Abstract:Fluid seepage of reduced organic compounds such as methane impacts the geology and biology of the seabed by inducing complex, microbially mediated biogeochemical processes. Authigenic carbonates serve as one of the few permanent records of these of dynamic biogeochemical interactions that involve methanogenesis, methanotrophy, sulfate reduction and carbonate precipitation. Meister et al. (2007) investigated deep-sea dolomite formation at Sites 1227–1229 on the Peru margin, where dolomite precipitation occurs in association with organic carbon-rich continental margin sediments. Geochemical and petrographic studies indicated episodic dolomite precipitation at a dynamic sulfate methane transition zone (SMTZ). Variations in δ13C values of these dolomites between +15‰ and −15‰ were attributed to non-steady state conditions as a result of the upward and downward migration of the SMTZ.
Our study aims to better understand the biogeochemical processes associated with authigenic carbonate precipitation in this dynamic deep-sea setting. We focused our efforts on IODP Site 1230, which is a gas-hydrate-bearing site that shows sulphate consumption within the uppermost 10 m below the seafloor as well as high methane production. Using a multi proxy approach, we combined X-ray diffraction, stable isotope geochemistry, and trace metal analysis of authigenic carbonates to elucidate conditions for authigenic carbonate formation. Results from Site 1230 are compared to Sites 1227 and 1229, which lacks gas hydrates and is characterized by high pore water sulfate and low methane concentrations. This study contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of authigenic carbonate formation and associated biogeochemical processes in continental margin sediments.
Meister, P., Mckenzie, J. A., Vasconcelos, C., Bernasconi, S., Frank, M., Gutjhar, M. and SCHRAG, D. P. (2007), Dolomite formation in the dynamic deep biosphere: results from the Peru Margin. Sedimentology, 54: 1007–1032.