Geological, geochemical, and microbiological heterogeneity of the seafloor around methane vents in the Eel River Basin, offshore California

V. J. Orphan, W. Ussler, T. H. Naehr, C. H. House, K. U. Hinrichs, C. K. Paull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

104 Scopus citations

Abstract

Marine methane vents and cold seeps are common features along continental margins worldwide, serving as localized sites for methane release and colonization by microbial and chemosynthetic megafaunal communities. The Eel River Basin (ERB), located on the continental slope off Northern California, contains active methane vents and seep-associated chemosynthetic biological communities (CBC) on the crests of anticlines in ∼ 520-m water depth. Seep-related features on the seafloor have a patchy distribution and include active bubbling vents, chemosynthetic clam beds, and sulfide-oxidizing bacterial mats. Methane sources supplying local seeps are heterogeneous on all spatial scales and support a large and diverse microbial assemblage involved in the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM). To develop a comprehensive understanding of the complex biological, geochemical and physical processes associated with, and influencing seafloor methane seepage, a multidisciplinary approach is required. Here we present an integrative, multidisciplinary study that illustrates the diverse processes associated with seafloor methane seepage within the Eel River Basin and the complex interactions defining the geochemistry, mineralogy and microbiology within this environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-289
Number of pages25
JournalChemical Geology
Volume205
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 14 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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