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Sample records for mexico hydrocarbon seep

  1. Methanotrophic gastropods from a bathyal hydrocarbon seep, Gulf of Mexico

    SciTech Connect

    Anderson, L.C.; Aharon, P.; Gupta, S. )

    1992-01-01

    Two gastropods, Neritina sp. and Truncatella sp., collected live from a Gulf of Mexico active gas seep with the submersible Johnson Sea Link in September 1991, apparently incorporate methane-derived carbon in their soft tissues. Flesh of an individual Neritina sp. had a delta C-13 of [minus]50.92 per mil PDB, and that of two coexisting individuals of Truncatella sp. had values of [minus]45.11 and [minus]49.27 per mil. These isotope values are comparable to those reported for the methanotrophic mytilid bivalve Bathymodiolus sp. from other hydrocarbon seeps on the Gulf of Mexico, and are lighter than published isotopic values of chemosynthetic organisms with sulfur-oxidizing symbionts. The anomalously light carbon-isotopic values of Neritina sp. and Truncatella sp. may steam from one of three causes: (1) these gastropods host symbiotic methanotrophic bacteria, (2) their chief food is methane-oxidizing bacteria present at the seep, or (3) they incorporate some carbon from the periostracum of mussels on which they may graze. The presence of abundant juveniles of Bathymodiolus, reported to settle preferentially in areas of active seepage and high methane release, indicates that methane was abundant and supported a community with multiple trophic levels. Generally, studies of hydrocarbon-seep communities have focused on larger community members, especially bivalves and tube worms. The presence of living Neritina and Truncatella at the authors sampling site, however, draws attention to the fact that these gastropods are integral and significant parts of hydrocarbon-seep communities. Both gastropod species are members of genera that characteristically inhabit shallow marine, intertidal, and semiterrestrial environments. The presence of these genera in bathyal hydrocarbon seeps indicates that they have very broad environmental ranges, thus limiting their utility in paleoecologic reconstructions.

  2. Barite Deposits at Hydrocarbon Seeps from Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feng, D.; Roberts, H. H.

    2009-12-01

    On Gulf of Mexico (COM) continental slope, oxidation of hydrocarbon-rich fluids from the sediment often leads to formation of authigenic carbonates. Barite frequently occurs with these carbonates. The biogeochemical processes involved in carbonate precipitation becoming more understood each year. However, little attention has been focused on barite and comparatively the nature and formation mechanism of these barite deposits. Here, we report a comprehensive study of barite deposits from 11 GOM hydrocarbon seep sites collected over the last 20 years. Barite samples were collected from both chimneys and crusts based on their morphologies. They usually show a porous fabric, and are typically covered by dark-brown Mn-rich coatings. All samples are dominated by barite (BaSO4) with minor amount of Mg-calcite, pyrite, and detrital silicates. The barites usually display distinct rosette assemblages which are typically less than 50 μm in diameter, but crystals over 200 μm in diameter can also be observed. Additionally, sulfur and oxygen isotope compositions of the chimneys are similar to those of modern seawater sulfate. In contrast, the crusts are enriched in both 34S and 18O relative to ambient seawater sulfate. On a δ34S versus δ18O diagram, many deposits show linear or concave-upward trends that project down toward the isotopic composition of seawater sulfate. The trends suggest that barite formed from seawater sulfate that had been isotopically modified to varying degrees. The barite samples with higher δ34S and δ18O values usually contain relatively larger amount of carbonate. Negative δ13C values (> -45‰ PDB) of these carbonates indicate that methane as major carbon source. Variations in oxygen and sulfur isotopes occur within individual study site but common trends across multiple geographic sites. We suggest that these variations primarily reflect local controls on the flux of Ba-rich and hydrocarbon-rich fluids, e.g. bacterial sulfate reduction at

  3. Important geological and biological impacts of natural hydrocarbon seeps: Northern Gulf of Mexico continental slope

    SciTech Connect

    Roberts, H.H. )

    1993-11-01

    Large volumes of siliciclastic sediments, input especially during periods of lowered sea level, and compensating salt tectonics have produced a continental slope that is arguably the most complex in today's oceans. Faults associated with deformation of salt and shale provide the primary migration routes for hydrocarbon gases, crude oil, brines, and formation fluids to the modern sea floor. Since the mid 1980s, it has become increasingly clearer that this process has an extremely important impact on the geomorphology, sedimentology, and biology of the modern continental slope. Hydrocarbon source, flux rate, and water depth are important determinants of sea-floor response. Under rapid flux conditions mud volcanoes (to 1 km wide and 50 m high) result, and hydrate hills (rich with authigenic carbonates), carbonate lithoherms, and isolated communities of chemosymbiotic organisms with associated hardgrounds represent much slower flux responses. In numerous moderate- to low-flux cases, cold seep products function to support islands of productivity for communities of chemosymbiotic organisms that contribute both directly (shell material) and through chemical byproducts to the production of massive volumes of calcium-magnesium carbonate in the form of hardgrounds, stacked slabs, and discrete moundlike buildups (commonly >20m). Seep-related carbonates of the Gulf of Mexico continental slope, as well those formed through degassing of accretionary prisms along active margins, are now thought to create hardgrounds and discrete buildups that are excellent analogs for many problematic carbonate buildups in ancient deep-water siliciclastic rocks.

  4. Exploration and Discovery of Hydrocarbon Seeps, Coral Ecosystems, and Shipwrecks in the Deep Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shank, T. M.; Hsing, P.; Carney, R. S.; Herrera, S.; Heyl, T.; Munro, C.; Bors, E.; Kiene, W.; Vecchione, M.; Evans, A.; Irion, J.; Warren, D.; Malik, M.; Lobecker, M.; Potter, J.

    2012-12-01

    Between March 20 and April 6, 2012, the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer served as a platform for ship-board and shore-side scientists to explore the deep Gulf of Mexico, targeting the northern West Florida Escarpment, DeSoto Canyon, the vicinity (within 11km) of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) well, and deepwater shipwrecks. We systematically explored and discovered natural hydrocarbon seeps, diverse coral ecosystems, wooden and iron-hulled shipwrecks more than 100 years old colonized by coral communities, and sperm whale habitat between 600 and 1200m. A total of sixteen dives took advantage of new and recent maps to explore and groundtruth both hard and soft-bottom habitats, from cretaceous carbonates to mounds of coral rubble. The final ROV dive successfully groundtruthed expected methane-release areas imaged by the ship's mapping systems up to 1150m above the seafloor. The source of the mapping imagery was a stream of bubbles issuing from beneath thriving seep mussel communities. We visited five sites in the Mississippi Canyon (MC) area (lease blocks MC294, MC297, MC388, MC255, and MC036; the DWH incident took place in MC252). These sites were 11.3 km SW, 6.8 km SW, 7.6 km SW, 25.7 km E, and 27.4 km to the NE of the DWH, respectively. We used high-definition imaging systems on the Little Hercules ROV and Seirios camera platform to document more than 130 coral colonies and over 400 associated individual animals to continue to assessing the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. All of these efforts were conducted to provide fundamental knowledge of unknown and poorly known regions, ecosystems, and items of historical significance in the deep Gulf of Mexico.

  5. Spatial Structure and Activity of Sedimentary Microbial Communities Underlying a Beggiatoa spp. Mat in a Gulf of Mexico Hydrocarbon Seep

    PubMed Central

    Lloyd, Karen G.; Albert, Daniel B.; Biddle, Jennifer F.; Chanton, Jeffrey P.; Pizarro, Oscar; Teske, Andreas

    2010-01-01

    Background Subsurface fluids from deep-sea hydrocarbon seeps undergo methane- and sulfur-cycling microbial transformations near the sediment surface. Hydrocarbon seep habitats are naturally patchy, with a mosaic of active seep sediments and non-seep sediments. Microbial community shifts and changing activity patterns on small spatial scales from seep to non-seep sediment remain to be examined in a comprehensive habitat study. Methodology/Principal Findings We conducted a transect of biogeochemical measurements and gene expression related to methane- and sulfur-cycling at different sediment depths across a broad Beggiatoa spp. mat at Mississippi Canyon 118 (MC118) in the Gulf of Mexico. High process rates within the mat (∼400 cm and ∼10 cm from the mat's edge) contrasted with sharply diminished activity at ∼50 cm outside the mat, as shown by sulfate and methane concentration profiles, radiotracer rates of sulfate reduction and methane oxidation, and stable carbon isotopes. Likewise, 16S ribosomal rRNA, dsrAB (dissimilatory sulfite reductase) and mcrA (methyl coenzyme M reductase) mRNA transcripts of sulfate-reducing bacteria (Desulfobacteraceae and Desulfobulbaceae) and methane-cycling archaea (ANME-1 and ANME-2) were prevalent at the sediment surface under the mat and at its edge. Outside the mat at the surface, 16S rRNA sequences indicated mostly aerobes commonly found in seawater. The seep-related communities persisted at 12–20 cm depth inside and outside the mat. 16S rRNA transcripts and V6-tags reveal that bacterial and archaeal diversity underneath the mat are similar to each other, in contrast to oxic or microoxic habitats that have higher bacterial diversity. Conclusions/Significance The visual patchiness of microbial mats reflects sharp discontinuities in microbial community structure and activity over sub-meter spatial scales; these discontinuities have to be taken into account in geochemical and microbiological inventories of seep environments. In

  6. Stable isotope trophic patterns in echinoderm megafauna in close proximity to and remote from Gulf of Mexico lower slope hydrocarbon seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carney, Robert Spencer

    2010-11-01

    Hydrocarbon-seep communities in the Gulf of Mexico have a high biomass that is exploited as a food source to varying degrees by the photosynthesis-dependent fauna inhabiting the surrounding mud bottom. A decline concurrent with ocean depth in detritus influx to that background habitat results in a much lower background biomass. The biomass contrast between population-rich seeps and depauperate mud bottom leads to the prediction that seep utilization by the background fauna should be extensive at all depths and should increase with depth. Species depth zonation makes like-species comparisons over the full depth of the Gulf of Mexico impossible. Seeps and normal bottom above 1000 m have different fauna from those below 1000 m. Lower slope seeps are surrounded by a fauna rich in echinoderm species, especially asteroids, ophiuroids, and holothuroids. All three taxa have species that are abundant within seeps and are probably endemic to them. They also contain species found only in mud background or within mud and seeps backgrounds. Tissue analyses of δ13C and δ15N of echinoderms collected by ROV within seeps and trawling away from seeps indicate a pattern of utilization similar to that found in upper slope seeps exploited by different taxa. Seastar and ophiuroid species abundant in or endemic to seeps have tissue isotope values reflecting seep chemosynthetic input via a free-living microbial detritus or predation. A single seep-endemic deposit-feeding holothuroid showed distinct seep tissue values. Background deposit-feeding holothuroids collected within seeps showed either no or only minor incorporation of seep carbon, indicating either a lack of access to seep detritus or short feeding times within the seep. A predicted extensive utilization of seep productivity at the deeper seeps was not found. Seeps may be relatively closed systems that require special adaptations of species in order for them to enter, exploit, and survive. Alternately, the surrounding deep

  7. Hydrocarbon Potential of the Southern Gulf of Mexico. Evidences from Tectonic Features and Oil Seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Padilla Y Sanch, R.

    2008-05-01

    The Gulf of Mexico has an enormous oil potential, about 104 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BBOE). From these, about 54 BBOE are in Mexican waters. Tectonic features in the sea-floor of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) are closely related to oil seepage that have been mapped since the early 20 century, and are direct evidences of working petroleum systems, as well as that deep reservoirs are leaking oil to the surface. This could be considered an inconvenience by some, but it is known that the giant field Cantarell was named after a fisherman that reported frequently giant oil seeps offshore northward Ciudad del Carmen. Deep water exploration has become more and more important these days because of the continuously increasing oil prices. The northern half of the Gulf of Mexico today displays an unusual drilling activity, whereas in the southern part drilling activity is too low. In this research work the interest is focused on the satellite detected oil seeps, and ther coincident location with the tectonic structures shown in the new digital tectonic map of mexico.

  8. Using Multi-Disciplinary Data to Compile a Hydrocarbon Budget for GC600, a Natural Seep in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacDonald, I. R.; Johansen, C.; Marty, E.; Natter, M.; Silva, M.; Hill, J. C.; Viso, R. F.; Lobodin, V.; Diercks, A. R.; Woolsey, M.; Macelloni, L.; Shedd, W. W.; Joye, S. B.; Abrams, M.

    2016-12-01

    Fluid exchange between the deep subsurface and the overlying ocean and atmosphere occurs at hydrocarbon seeps along continental margins. Seeps are key features that alter the seafloor morphology and geochemically affect the sediments that support chemosynthetic communities. However, the dynamics and discharge rates of hydrocarbons at cold seeps remain largely unconstrained. Here we merge complementary geochemical (oil fingerprinting), geophysical (seismic, subbottom, backscatter, multibeam) and video/imaging (Video Time Lapse Camera, DSV ALVIN video) data sets to constrain pathways and magnitudes of hydrocarbon fluxes from the source rock to the seafloor at a well-studied, prolific seep site in the Northern Gulf of Mexico (GC600). Oil fingerprinting showed compositional similarities for samples from the following collections: the reservoir, an active vent, and the sea-surface. This was consistent with reservoir structures and pathways identified in seismic data. Video data, which showed the spatial distribution of seep indicators such as bacteria mats, or hydrate outcrops at the sediment interface, were combined with known hydrocarbon fluxes from the literature and used to quantify the total hydrocarbon fluxes in the seep domain. Using a systems approach, we combined data sets and published values at various scales and resolutions to compile a preliminary hydrocarbon budget for the GC600 seep site. Total estimated in-flow of hydrocarbons was 2.07 x 109 mol/yr. The combined total of out-flow and sequestration amounted to 7.56 x 106 mol/yr leaving a potential excess (in-flow - out-flow) of 2.06 x 109 mol/yr. Thus quantification of the potential out-flow from the seep domains based on observable processes does not equilibrate with the theoretical inputs from the reservoir. Processes that might balance this budget include accumulation of gas hydrate and sediment free-gas, as well as greater efficiency of biological sinks.

  9. Biogeography of thermophilic, endospore-forming bacteria in deepwater hydrocarbon seep sediments of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chakraborty, A.; Hubert, C. R.; Ellefson, E.

    2016-12-01

    Dormant endospores of thermophilic bacteria (thermospores) are routinely detected in permanently cold marine surface sediments and are an example of the microbial rare biosphere. These endospores remain undetected in nucleic-acid based community surveys, but can germinate and proliferate during high-temperature incubations. Prominent genera of thermospores include sulfate-reducing Desulfotomaculum and Pelotomaculum as well as fermentative Caloranaerobacter and Thermicanus, within the phylum Firmicutes. Many thermospores are closely related to microorganisms indigenous to subseafloor petroleum reservoirs. If thermospores found in the cold seabed originate warm subsurface petroleum reservoirs, hydrocarbon seeps are likely natural conduits for their passive dispersal up into the ocean. As such, thermospore distributions in marine sediments might have utility in detection of natural hydrocarbon seeps. Marine surface sediments from 112 locations in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico ranging from 100 to 3300 m water depth and situated 6 to 600 km away from each other were sampled and classified according to geochemical indications of oil seepage. Sediment microcosms amended with 20 mM sulfate and a mixture of organic substrates were pasteurized at 80°C then incubated at 50-55°C for 14 days. Sulfate reduction was monitored and detected in 84 (75%) of the sediment samples. The rate and extent of sulfate reduction at this high temperature was greater in the oil-containing sediments than in the sediments without oil. Sequencing of the V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene on an Illumina MiSeq benchtop sequencer before and after high temperature incubations revealed enrichments of various thermospore genera with the majority being closely related to bacteria previously detected in deep subsurface environments. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that thermospores in the vicinity of hydrocarbon seeps originate from warm deep biosphere habitats.

  10. Species Distribution and Population Connectivity of Deep-Sea Mussels at Hydrocarbon Seeps in the Gulf of Mexico

    PubMed Central

    Faure, Baptiste; Schaeffer, Stephen W.; Fisher, Charles R.

    2015-01-01

    Hydrocarbon seepage is widespread and patchy in the Gulf of Mexico, and six species of symbiont containing bathymodiolin mussels are found on active seeps over wide and overlapping depth and geographic ranges. We use mitochondrial genes to discriminate among the previously known and a newly discovered species and to assess the connectivity among populations of the same species in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM). Our results generally validate the morphologically based distribution of the three previously known GoM species of Bathymodiolus, although we found that approximately 10% of the morphologically based identifications were incorrect and this resulted in some inaccuracies with respect to their previously assigned depth and geographical distribution patterns. These data allowed us to confirm that sympatry of two species of Bathymodiolus within a single patch of mussels is common. A new species of bathymodiolin, Bathymodiolus sp. nov., closely related to B. heckerae was also discovered. The two species live at the same depths but have not been found in sympatry and both have small effective population sizes. We found evidence for genetic structure within populations of the three species of Bathymodiolinae for which we had samples from multiple sites and suggest limited connectivity for populations at some sites. Despite relatively small sample sizes, genetic diversity indices suggest the largest population sizes for B. childressi and Tamu fisheri and the smallest for B. heckerae and B. sp. nov. among the GoM bathymodiolins. Moreover, we detected an excess of rare variants indicating recent demographic changes and population expansions for the four species of bathymodiolins from the Gulf of Mexico. PMID:25859657

  11. Species distribution and population connectivity of deep-sea mussels at hydrocarbon seeps in the Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Faure, Baptiste; Schaeffer, Stephen W; Fisher, Charles R

    2015-01-01

    Hydrocarbon seepage is widespread and patchy in the Gulf of Mexico, and six species of symbiont containing bathymodiolin mussels are found on active seeps over wide and overlapping depth and geographic ranges. We use mitochondrial genes to discriminate among the previously known and a newly discovered species and to assess the connectivity among populations of the same species in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM). Our results generally validate the morphologically based distribution of the three previously known GoM species of Bathymodiolus, although we found that approximately 10% of the morphologically based identifications were incorrect and this resulted in some inaccuracies with respect to their previously assigned depth and geographical distribution patterns. These data allowed us to confirm that sympatry of two species of Bathymodiolus within a single patch of mussels is common. A new species of bathymodiolin, Bathymodiolus sp. nov., closely related to B. heckerae was also discovered. The two species live at the same depths but have not been found in sympatry and both have small effective population sizes. We found evidence for genetic structure within populations of the three species of Bathymodiolinae for which we had samples from multiple sites and suggest limited connectivity for populations at some sites. Despite relatively small sample sizes, genetic diversity indices suggest the largest population sizes for B. childressi and Tamu fisheri and the smallest for B. heckerae and B. sp. nov. among the GoM bathymodiolins. Moreover, we detected an excess of rare variants indicating recent demographic changes and population expansions for the four species of bathymodiolins from the Gulf of Mexico.

  12. Short- and Long-Term Dynamics of Gas Hydrate at GC600: A Gulf of Mexico Hydrocarbon Seep

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacDonald, I. R.; Johansen, C.; Silva, M.; Daneshgar, S.; Garcia-Pineda, O. G.; Shedd, W. W.

    2014-12-01

    The GC600 hydrocarbon seep is located at 1200 m in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Satellite data show it to be one of the most prolific sources of natural oil slicks in the entire GOM. We mapped its seafloor oil and gas vents with 3-D seismic, swath-bathymetry acoustics and submersible observations, documenting gas hydrate deposits, brine pools, benthic fauna, and authigenic carbonates. Geophysical profiles show subbottom locations of salt bodies and migration conduits. We deployed time-lapse imaging systems focused on individual vents to quantify release rates. Oil and gas flow upward along the flanks of an allochthonous salt body from source rocks at 10,000 m and migrate to the seafloor from faults emanating from the salt. Venting to the water column and surface consists of oily bubbles and occurs in two fields separated by ~1 km. The NW vent field (Megaplume) appears to be a more recent expression and hosts about three highly active vents; while the SE vent field (Birthday Candles) hosts more than 10 vents that are generally slower. We measured discharge rates of 2.6 cm3 s-1 and Megaplume and 0.09 cm3 s-1 at Birthday Candles. Although surface deposits of gas hydrate were evident at both vent fields, the Birthday Candles area featured dozens of conical mounds formed by gas hydrate that were dark brown due to large amounts of liquid oil perfused throughout the deposits. Large brine pools indicated gas hydrate formation at the seafloor. Venting occurred in horizontal fissures on the mounds, in which oil and hydrate combined to form short-lived chimneys and balloon-like structures. Ice worms (Hesiocaeca methanicola) were extremely abundant in burrows extending from the sediment into the gas hydrate. Proceeding farther to the SE, venting is reduced and absent, but surface carbonate deposits suggest relict gas hydrate mounds. We propose that the NW to SE trend at GC600 encompasses the progressive development of a biogeochemical filter that sequesters and

  13. Gulf of Mexico hydrocarbon seep communities. V. Biofacies and shell orientation of autochthonous shell beds below storm wave base

    SciTech Connect

    Callender, W.R.; Staff, G.M.; Powell, E.N.; MacDonald, I.R. )

    1990-02-01

    Clam and mussel assemblages associated with petroleum seepage on the Louisiana continental slope form the only substantial shell accumulations below storm wave base on the northwestern Gulf of Mexico shelf and slope. Four distinct biofacies are present at the seeps, dominated respectively by mussels, lucinid clams, vesicomyid clams and tubeworms. Each primary seep site is typically composed of a series of not necessarily contiguous, autochthonous beds dominated by one biofacies. Mussels and tubeworms often co-occur, but neither normally co-occur with lucinid or vesicomyid clams. Lucinid and vesicomyid clam beds have the best chance of preservation. Despite essentially undisturbed accumulation in quiet water below storm wave base, concavity ratios rarely differ from 1:1 and frequency of articulation may be low. Dominantly concave-up valves previously reported in quiet water may result from man's fishing activities. Significant variability in shell orientation, frequency of articulation and concavity ratio between adjacent samples indicates that many individual stratigraphically-equivalent samples should be used in any taphofacies analysis of assemblages formed in low-energy environments. Lucinid beds which form below the sediment surface and vesicomyid beds which form on the sediment surface differed significantly in shell orientation and articulation frequency. Assemblages forming below storm wave base in low-energy environments may comprise a wide variety of taphofacies depending upon whether formation occurs primarily beneath the sediment surface or on the sediment surface, despite contemporaneous formation under similar environmental conditions.

  14. Macro-ecology of Gulf of Mexico cold seeps.

    PubMed

    Cordes, Erik E; Bergquist, Derk C; Fisher, Charles R

    2009-01-01

    Shortly after the discovery of chemosynthetic ecosystems at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, similar ecosystems were found at cold seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the past two decades, these sites have become model systems for understanding the physiology of the symbiont-containing megafauna and the ecology of seep communities worldwide. Symbiont-containing bi-valves and siboglinid polychaetes dominate the communities, including five bathymodiolin mussel species and six vestimentiferan (siboglinid polychaete) species in the Gulf of Mexico. The mussels include the first described examples of methanotrophic symbiosis and dual methanotrophic/thiotrophic symbiosis. Studies with the vestimentiferans have demonstrated their potential for extreme longevity and their ability to use posterior structures for subsurface exchange of dissolved metabolites. Ecological investigations have demonstrated that the vestimentiferans function as ecosystem engineers and identified a community succession sequence from a specialized high-biomass endemic community to a low-biomass community of background fauna over the life of a hydrocarbon seep site.

  15. Improved Detection and Mapping of Deepwater Hydrocarbon Seeps: Optimizing Acquisition and Processing Parameters for Marine Seep Hunting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitchell, G. A.; Orange, D.; Gharib, J. J.; Saade, E. J.; Joye, S. B.

    2016-12-01

    Marine seep hunting surveys are a current focus of hydrocarbon exploration due to recent advances in offshore geophysical and geochemical technologies. Hydrocarbon seeps are ephemeral, small, discrete, and often difficult to sample on the deep seafloor. Low to mid-frequency multibeam echosounders (MBES) are an ideal exploration tool to remotely locate and map seafloor features associated with seepage. Geophysical signatures from hydrocarbon seeps are evident in bathymetric datasets (fluid expulsion features), seafloor backscatter datasets (carbonate outcrops, gassy sediments, methane hydrate deposits), and midwater backscatter datasets (gas bubble and oil droplet plumes). Interpretation of these geophysical seep signatures in backscatter datasets is a fundamental component in seep hunting. Degradation of backscatter datasets resulting from environmental, geometric, and system noise can interfere with the detection and delineation of seeps. We present a backscatter intensity normalization method and a 2X acquisition technique that can enhance the geologic resolvability within backscatter datasets and assist in interpretation and characterization of seeps. We use GC600 in the Northern Gulf of Mexico as a seep calibration site for a Kongsberg EM302 30 kHz MBES prior to the start of the Gigante seep hunting survey. We analyze the results of a backscatter intensity normalization, assess the effectiveness of 2X seafloor coverage in resolving geologic features in backscatter data, and determine off-nadir detection limits of bubble plumes. GC600's location and robust venting make it a natural laboratory in which to study natural hydrocarbon seepage. The site has been the focus of several near-seafloor surveys as well as in-situ studies using advanced deepwater technologies analyzing fluid flux and composition. These datasets allow for ground-truthing of our remote backscatter measurements prior to commencing exploration within the frontier regions of the Southern Gulf of

  16. Can hydrocarbons entrapped in seep carbonates serve as gas geochemistry recorder?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blumenberg, Martin; Pape, Thomas; Seifert, Richard; Bohrmann, Gerhard; Schlömer, Stefan

    2017-08-01

    The geochemistry of seep gases is useful for an understanding of the local petroleum system. Here it was tested whether individual light hydrocarbons in seep gases are representatively entrapped in authigenic carbonates that formed near active seep sites. If applicable, it would be possible to extract geochemical information not only on the origin but also on the thermal maturity of the hydrocarbon source rocks from the gases entrapped in carbonates in the past. Respective data could be used for a better understanding of paleoenvironments and might directly serve as calibration point for, amongst others, petroleum system modeling. For this approach, (sub)-recent seep carbonates from the Black Sea (Paleodnjepr region and Batumi seep area), two sites of the Campeche Knoll region in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Venere mud volcano (Mediterranean Sea) were selected. These seep carbonates derive from sites for which geochemical data on the currently seeping gases exist. During treatment with phosphoric acid, methane and higher hydrocarbons were released from all carbonates, but in low concentrations. Compositional studies demonstrate that the ratio of methane to the sum of higher hydrocarbons (C1/(C2+C3)) is (partly strongly) positively biased in the entrapped gas fraction. δ13C values of C1 were determined for all samples and, for the samples from the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea, also of C2 and C3. The present dataset from six seep sites indicates that information on the seeped methane can be—although with a scatter of several permil—recorded in seep carbonate matrices, but other valuable information like the composition and δ13C of ethane and propane appears to be modified or lost during, for example, enclosure or at an early stage of diagenesis.

  17. Elevated surface chlorophyll associated with natural oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Souza, N. A.; Subramaniam, A.; Juhl, A. R.; Hafez, M.; Chekalyuk, A.; Phan, S.; Yan, B.; MacDonald, I. R.; Weber, S. C.; Montoya, J. P.

    2016-03-01

    Natural hydrocarbon seeps occur on the sea floor along continental margins, and account for up to 47% of the oil released into the oceans. Hydrocarbon seeps are known to support local benthic productivity, but little is known about their impact on photosynthetic organisms in the overlying water column. Here we present observations with high temporal and spatial resolution of chlorophyll concentrations in the northern Gulf of Mexico using in situ and shipboard flow-through fluorescence measurements from May to July 2012, as well as an analysis of ocean-colour satellite images from 1997 to 2007. All three methods reveal elevated chlorophyll concentrations in waters influenced by natural hydrocarbon seeps. Temperature and nutrient profiles above seep sites suggest that nutrient-rich water upwells from depth, which may facilitate phytoplankton growth and thus support the higher chlorophyll concentrations observed. Because upwelling occurs at natural seep locations around the world, we conclude that offshore hydrocarbon seeps, and perhaps other types of deep ocean vents and seeps at depths exceeding 1,000 m, may influence biogeochemistry and productivity of the overlying water column.

  18. Investigating Hydrocarbon Seep Environments with High-Resolution, Three-Dimensional Geographic Visualizations.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doolittle, D. F.; Gharib, J. J.; Mitchell, G. A.

    2015-12-01

    Detailed photographic imagery and bathymetric maps of the seafloor acquired by deep submergence vehicles such as Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) are expanding how scientists and the public view and ultimately understand the seafloor and the processes that modify it. Several recently acquired optical and acoustic datasets, collected during ECOGIG (Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf) and other Gulf of Mexico expeditions using the National Institute for Undersea Science Technology (NIUST) Eagle Ray, and Mola Mola AUVs, have been fused with lower resolution data to create unique three-dimensional geovisualizations. Included in these data are multi-scale and multi-resolution visualizations over hydrocarbon seeps and seep related features. Resolution of the data range from 10s of mm to 10s of m. When multi-resolution data is integrated into a single three-dimensional visual environment, new insights into seafloor and seep processes can be obtained from the intuitive nature of three-dimensional data exploration. We provide examples and demonstrate how integration of multibeam bathymetry, seafloor backscatter data, sub-bottom profiler data, textured photomosaics, and hull-mounted multibeam acoustic midwater imagery are made into a series a three-dimensional geovisualizations of actively seeping sites and associated chemosynthetic communities. From these combined and merged datasets, insights on seep community structure, morphology, ecology, fluid migration dynamics, and process geomorphology can be investigated from new spatial perspectives. Such datasets also promote valuable inter-comparisons of sensor resolution and performance.

  19. Hydrocarbon Seeps Formations: a Study Using 3-D Seismic Attributes in Combination with Satellite Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia-Pineda, O. G.; MacDonald, I. R.; Shedd, W.

    2011-12-01

    Analyzing the magnitude of oil discharges from natural hydrocarbon seeps is important in improving our understanding of carbon contribution as oil migrates from deeper sediments to the water column, and then eventually to the atmosphere. Liquid hydrocarbon seepage in the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is associated with deep cutting faults, associated with vertical salt movement, that provide conduits for the upward migration of oil and gas. Seeps transform surface geology and generate prominent geophysical targets that can be identified on 3-D seismic data as seafloor amplitude anomalies maps that correlate with the underlying deep fault systems. Using 3D seismic data, detailed mapping of the northern GOM has identified more than 21,000 geophysical anomalies across the basin. In addition to seismic data, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images have proven to be a reliable tool for localizing natural seepage of oil. We used a Texture Classifier Neural Network Algorithm (TCNNA) to process more than 1200 SAR images collected over the GOM. We quantified more than 900 individual seep formations distributed along the continental shelf and in deep water. Comparison of the geophysical anomalies with the SAR oil slick targets shows good general agreement between the distributions of the two indicators. However, there are far fewer active oil slicks than geophysical anomalies, most of which are probably associated with gas seepage. By examining several sites where the location of active venting can be determined by submersibles observations, we found that the active oily vents are often spatially offset from the most intense geophysical targets (i.e. GC600, GC767, GC204, etc). In addition to the displacement of the oil by deep sea currents, we propose that during the 100K years of activity, the location of the vents on the seafloor probably migrate as carbonate cementation reduces the permeability of the upper sediment. Many of the geophysical targets may represent

  20. Methane and sulfur cycling in terrestrial hydrocarbon seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, L.; Wang, P.; Cheng, T.; Ling, Y.; Sun, C.; Chen, Y.; Wang, C.; Wu, J.; Chu, P.

    2009-12-01

    Hydrocarbon seeps are ubiquitous in marine and terrestrial environments where gaseous fluids with unconsolidated, fine-grained sediments ascend along fractures prior to being discharged on seafloor or land surface. Complex geological and microbial processes are involved in the sequestration of photosynthetically produced organic carbon into deep subsurface environments and cycling of methane and carbon dioxide back to atmosphere. Extensive studies conducted on marine settings indicate that geochemical stratification in sediment porewater is dynamically regulated by various microbial processes. Whether the experience accumulated over the decadal observation on marine settings could be applied to shallow and deep biosphere beneath terrestrial hydrocarbon seeps remains poorly constrained. To address the issue about how carbon and sulfur compounds were cycled in terrestrial hydrocarbon seeps, this presentation summarized the results obtained from samples collected in two sites (one at 60C and the other at 27C) of southwestern Taiwan. These sites characterized by continuously voluminous discharge of hydrocarbons were considered as the model analogs that would provide better constraints on microbial processes at ambient and high temperatures in seep-related subsurface environments. Our findings indicated that sulfate reduction and methanogenesis were active at temperatures up to 80C. Sulfate reducing and fermentative populations shifted substantially upon incubations at different temperatures, suggesting that degradation of organic carbon could only proceed with collaborative interactions among metabolisms. The proliferation of mesophilic sulfate reduction in sulfate-deprived terrestrial environments appears to be best facilitated by atmospheric oxidation of pyrite inherited in sediments. Sulfate produced in surface environments migrated downward to fuel sulfate reduction coupled to anaerobic methane oxidation near the sulfate-to-methane transition. Of various

  1. Sulfur biogeochemistry of cold seeps in the Green Canyon region of the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Formolo, Michael J.; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2013-10-01

    Cold seeps in the Gulf of Mexico provide a natural laboratory to study biogeochemical cycling of sulfur, carbon, and oxygen at hydrate- and hydrocarbon-rich deep marine settings with obvious additional relevance to studies of diverse modern and ancient seeps. Of particular interest are the sulfur isotope signatures of microbial sulfate reduction coupled to anaerobic oxidation of methane and other non-methane liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons. Whereas most of the published sulfur isotope data from cold seep systems pertain to pore-water species, our study integrates both solid and dissolved sulfur: acid-volatile sulfides (SAVS), pyrite (Spy), elemental sulfur (S°), dissolved sulfate and ΣH2S. Modeled and 35SO42- reduction rates and δ13C and δ18O data for authigenic carbonates are integrated within this sulfur framework. Our results indicate extreme variability over narrow spatial and temporal scales within short distances (meters) from active seeps. High rates of microbial sulfate reduction can lead to complete consumption of the sulfate within the upper few centimeters of burial, while meters away the sulfate profile shows little depletion. Such small-scale variability must reflect the structure and temporal dynamics of hydrocarbon migration in the presence of low amounts of background organic matter. Our past work demonstrated that electron donors other than methane drive significant levels of microbial activity at these seeps, and very recent work has demonstrated that oxidation of higher chain volatile hydrocarbons can contribute to the high levels of microbial activity. These findings are consistent with our new results. Elevated concentrations of pyrite and diagenetic carbonate relative to background sediments are diagnostic of active seepage, yet the S isotopes tell more complex stories. Low levels of the transient, 'instantaneous' products of S cycling-AVS and S°-show high δ34S values that increase with depth. Most of the pyrite formation, however, seems

  2. Symbiont-driven sulfur crystal formation in a thiotrophic symbiosis from deep-sea hydrocarbon seeps

    PubMed Central

    Eichinger, Irmgard; Schmitz-Esser, Stephan; Schmid, Markus; Fisher, Charles R; Bright, Monika

    2014-01-01

    The siboglinid tubeworm Sclerolinum contortum symbiosis inhabits sulfidic sediments at deep-sea hydrocarbon seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. A single symbiont phylotype in the symbiont-housing organ is inferred from phylogenetic analyses of the 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (16S rRNA) gene and fluorescent in situ hybridization. The phylotype we studied here, and a previous study from an arctic hydrocarbon seep population, reveal identical 16S rRNA symbiont gene sequences. While sulfide is apparently the energy source for the symbionts (and ultimately the gutless host), both partners also have to cope with its toxicity. This study demonstrates abundant large sulfur crystals restricted to the trophosome area. Based on Raman microspectroscopy and energy dispersive X-ray analysis, these crystals have the same S8 sulfur configuration as the recently described small sulfur vesicles formed in the symbionts. The crystals reside adjacent to the symbionts in the trophosome. This suggests that their formation is either extra- or intracellular in symbionts. We propose that formation of these crystals provides both energy-storage compounds for the symbionts and serves the symbiosis by removing excess toxic sulfide from host tissues. This symbiont-mediated sulfide detoxification may have been crucial for the establishment of thiotrophic symbiosis and continues to remain an important function of the symbionts. PMID:24992535

  3. Hydrocarbon geochemistry of cold seeps in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lorenson, T.D.; Kvenvolden, K.A.; Hostettler, F.D.; Rosenbauer, R.J.; Orange, D.L.; Martin, J.B.

    2002-01-01

    Samples from four geographically and tectonically discrete cold seeps named Clam Flat, Clamfield, Horseshoe Scarp South, and Tubeworm City, within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary were analyzed for their hydrocarbon content. The sediment contains gaseous hydrocarbons and CO2, as well as high molecular weight aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons with various combinations of thermogenic and biogenic contributions from petroleum, marine, and terrigenous sources. Of particular interest is the cold seep site at Clamfield which is characterized by the presence of thermogenic hydrocarbons including oil that can likely be correlated with oil-saturated strata at Majors Creek near Davenport, CA, USA. At Clam Flat, the evidence for thermogenic hydrocarbons is equivocal. At Horseshoe Scarp South and Tubeworm City, hydrocarbon gases, mainly methane, are likely microbial in origin. These varied sources of hydrocarbon gases highlight the diverse chemical systems that appear at cold seep communities. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Co-Occurrence of Nitrate Reduction and Anaerobic Oxidation of Methane in Gulf of Mexico Cold Seep Habitats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fields, L.; Joye, S. B.

    2014-12-01

    Cold seeps are abundant in the Gulf of Mexico; they are fuelled by methane gas and hydrocarbon seepage at the seafloor and support diverse chemosynthetic microbial communities. Microorganisms form the base of the food chain at cold seeps, and high rates of anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) are characteristic of these methane-rich environments. While sulfate is often the electron acceptor for AOM in cold seep environments, recent evidence suggests that AOM can also be coupled to nitrate reduction. Little is known about nitrogen cycling in these habitats, though recent work indicates that denitrification is an important process in oily and gassy seep sediments. The co-occurrence of nitrate reduction and AOM suggests a potential coupling between the two processes in our study area. We used stable isotope (15N) tracer techniques to measure the capacity of Northern Gulf of Mexico cold seep sediments to reduce nitrate by denitrification and anammox. These measurements were made in surface and sub-surface sediments in conjunction with measurements of AOM, and with quantification of various geochemical and molecular characteristics. Here, we present our measurements of denitrification and anammox capacity in the context of environmental characteristics. Additionally, we examine spatial trends in the co-occurrence of AOM and nitrate reduction in these sediments.

  5. Bacterial symbionts of Bathymodiolus mussels and Escarpia tubeworms from Chapopote, an asphalt seep in the Southern Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Raggi, L; Schubotz, F; Hinrichs, K-U; Dubilier, N; Petersen, J M

    2013-07-01

    Chemosynthetic life was recently discovered at Chapopote, an asphalt hydrocarbon seep in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Preliminary morphological analyses indicated that one tubeworm and two mussel species colonize Chapopote. Our molecular analyses identified the tubeworm as Escarpia sp., and the mussels as Bathymodiolus heckerae and B. brooksi. Comparative 16S rRNA analysis and FISH showed that all three species harbour intracellular sulfur-oxidizing symbionts highly similar or identical to those found in the same host species from northern Gulf of Mexico (nGoM). The mussels also harbour methane-oxidizing symbionts, and these shared highly similar to identical 16S rRNA sequences to their nGoM conspecifics. We discovered a novel symbiont in B. heckerae, which is closely related to hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria of the genus Cycloclasticus. In B. heckerae, we found key genes for the use of aromatic compounds, and its stable carbon isotope values were consistently higher than B. brooksi, indicating that the novel symbiont might use isotopically heavy aromatic hydrocarbons from the asphalt seep. This discovery is particularly intriguing because until now only methane and reduced sulfur compounds have been shown to power cold-seep chemosynthetic symbioses. The abundant hydrocarbons available at Chapopote would provide these mussel symbioses with a rich source of nutrition.

  6. Satellite SAR inventory of Gulf of Mexico oil seeps and shallow gas hydrates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia, O.; MacDonald, I. R.; Zimmer, B.; Shedd, W.; Frye, M.

    2009-04-01

    Satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images from the RADARSAT platform were used to detect and inventory persistent layers of oil released from natural seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. Previously published inventories of natural oil seeps in the Gulf have been limited in scope and have relied on manual interpretation of satellite images (Mitchell et al. 1999; De Beukelaer et al. 2003). We developed a texture classifying neural network algorithm (TCNNA) to rapidly identify floating oil-layers in a semi-supervised operation. Oil layers, known as slicks, were recognized as long (10 km), narrow (100 m), often curvilinear streaks with distinct points of origin where oil reaches the ocean surface. After training the TCNNA over known seep areas and under a range of environmental and viewing conditions, the procedure was applied to 426 separate images that covered ocean areas of 100x100 km (Standard Beam Mode), 102 images that covered ocean areas of 450x450 km(ScanSAR Wide Beam Mode), and 84 images that covered ocean areas of 300x300 km (ScanSAR Narrow Beam Mode). This image data-set was collected between 1994 and 2007. It covered the entire Gulf of Mexico with a repeat rate of 4 to109, with the highest concentration over the continental slope. This effort identified a total of 4957 slicks among all the images. Of these, 287 appeared a single time in isolated locations and may therefore be false targets. The remaining slicks appeared in groups of up to 9 separate features, clustered in areas of 1 to 6.5 km across. When slicks appear within the same area in repeated images, they are judged to have a persistent source—a bubbling vent on the seafloor (MacDonald et al. 2002). Persistent sources represent geologic formations defined by migrating hydrocarbons that may include multiple separate vents. A total of 559 formations were defined by repeated imaging; these comprised a maximum of 1995 and a minimum of 1263 individual vents. This total was distributed between U

  7. Mercury concentrations, speciation, and isotopic composition in sediment from a cold seep in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Brown, Garry; Sleeper, Kenneth; Johnson, Marcus W; Blum, Joel D; Cizdziel, James V

    2013-12-15

    Total-Hg, monomethylmercury (MMHg), and mercury isotopic composition was determined in sediment from a cold seep and background sites in the northern Gulf of Mexico (nGoM). Total-Hg averaged 50 ng/g (n=28), ranged from 31 to 67 ng/g, and decreased with depth (0-15 cm). MMHg averaged 0.91 ng/g (n=18), and ranged from 0.2 to 1.9 ng/g. There was no significant difference for total-Hg or MMHg between cold seep and background sites. δ(202)Hg ranged from -0.5 to -0.8‰ and becomes more negative with depth (r=0.989). Mass independent fractionation (Δ(199)Hg) was small but consistently positive (0.04-0.12‰); there was no difference between cold seeps (Δ(199)Hg = +0.09±0.03; n=7, 1SD) and background sites (Δ(199)Hg=+0.07±0.02; n=5, 1SD). This suggests that releases of hydrocarbons at the cold seep do not significantly alter Hg levels, and that cold seeps are likely not major sources of MMHg to nGoM waters.

  8. Cold-seep carbonates of the middle and lower continental slope, northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberts, Harry H.; Feng, Dong; Joye, Samantha B.

    2010-11-01

    Authigenic carbonates from cold seeps on the middle and lower continental slope of the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) exhibit a wide range of mineralogical and stable isotopic compositions. These carbonates consist of concretions and nodules in surface sediments, hardgrounds of crusts and isolated slabs, and mounded buildups of blocks and slabs of up to over 10 meters in relief above the surrounding seafloor. Mineralogically, the carbonates are dominated by high-Mg calcite (HMC) and aragonite. However, low levels (<5 wt%) of dolomite are present in most samples. Petrographically, Mg-calcite peloidal matrix and acicular to botryoidal aragonitic void-filling cements are the most frequent associations. The carbon isotopic compositions of the carbonates range from -60.8 to 14.0‰ PDB, indicating complex carbon sources that include 13C-depleted biogenic and thermogenic methane, biodegraded crude oil, seawater CO2, and 13C-enriched residual CO2 from methanogenesis. A similarly large variability in δ18O values (2.5 to 6.7‰ PDB) demonstrates the geochemical complexity of the slope, with some samples pointing toward an 18O-enriched oxygen source that is possibly related to advection of 18O-enriched formation water and/or to the decomposition of gas hydrate. A considerable range of mineralogical and isotopic variations in cold-seep carbonate composition was noted even within individual study sites. However, common trends occur across multiple geographic areas. This situation suggests that local controls on fluid and gas flux, types of seep hydrocarbons, the presence or absence of gas hydrate in the near-surface sediment, and chemosynthetic communities, as well as the temporal evolution of the local hydrocarbon reservoir, all may play a part in determining carbonate mineralogy and isotope geochemistry. The carbon isotope data clearly indicate that between-site variation is greater than within-site variation. Seep carbonates formed on the middle and lower continental slope

  9. Transience and persistence of natural hydrocarbon seepage in Mississippi Canyon, Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia-Pineda, Oscar; MacDonald, Ian; Silva, Mauricio; Shedd, William; Daneshgar Asl, Samira; Schumaker, Bonny

    2016-07-01

    Analysis of the magnitude of oil discharged from natural hydrocarbon seeps can improve understanding of the carbon cycle and the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) ecosystem. With use of a large archive of remote sensing data, in combination with geophysical and multibeam data, we identified, mapped, and characterized natural hydrocarbon seeps in the Macondo prospect region near the wreck site of the drill-rig Deepwater Horizon (DWH). Satellite image processing and the cluster analysis revealed locations of previously undetected seep zones. Including duplicate detections, a total of 562 individual gas plumes were also observed in multibeam surveys. In total, SAR imagery confirmed 52 oil-producing seep zones in the study area. In almost all cases gas plumes were associated with oil-producing seep zones. The cluster of seeps in the vicinity of lease block MC302 appeared to host the most persistent and prolific oil vents. Oil slicks and gas plumes observed over the DWH site were consistent with discharges of residual oil from the wreckage. In contrast with highly persistent oil seeps observed in the Green Canyon and Garden Banks lease areas, the seeps in the vicinity of Macondo Prospect were intermittent. The difference in the number of seeps and the quantity of surface oil detected in Green Canyon was almost two orders of magnitude greater than in Mississippi Canyon.

  10. Automated Characterization and Quantification of Hydrocarbon Seeps Based on Frontal Illuminated Video Observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boelmann, J.; Zielinski, O.

    2015-04-01

    Hydrocarbon releases, either natural or due to anthropogenic activities, are of major relevance for the marine environment. In this work we specify our approach to quantify these seeps by subsea imaging utilizing camera systems and frontal illumination setups on board remotely operated vehicles. This work showcases, based on a campaign in the region west of Svalbard, improved methodological guidelines for the seep quantification operation together with a novel automated post-mission evaluation. The comparison of automated quantification with manual information extraction illustrates the efficiency of this new method while processing comparable estimates of seep characteristics.

  11. Short-chain alkane cycling in deep Gulf of Mexico cold-seep sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sibert, R.; Joye, S. B.; Hunter, K.

    2015-12-01

    Mixtures of light hydrocarbon gases are common in deep Gulf of Mexico cold-seep sediments, and are typically dissolved in pore fluids, adsorbed to sediment particles, trapped in methane ice, or as free gas. The dominant component in these natural gas mixtures is usually methane (>80% C1), but ethane (C2) and propane (C3) are nearly always present in trace amounts (<1% total). The processes that control the concentration and isotopic signature of these gases in sediments are well explained for methane, but the controls for C2/C3 cycling are still a relative mystery. Methane production proceeds in deep anoxic sediments by either 1) thermocatalytic cracking of fossil organic matter, or 2) as a direct product of microbial metabolism, i.e. methanogenesis. In surface sediments, it appears that both microbial consumption and chemical deposition of methane (i.e. as methane clathrate) ensures that >95% of the methane produced at depth never reaches the water column. Production of C1 and C2 in deep-sea sediments has been historically attributed only to thermocatalytic processes, though limited data suggests production of C2/C3 compounds through the activity of archaea at depth. Furthermore, carbon isotopic data on ethane and propane from deep cores of Gulf of Mexico sediments suggest alkanogenesis at >3 m depth in the sediment column and alkane oxidation in uppermost oxidant-rich sediments. Additional studies have also isolated microorganisms capable of oxidizing ethane and propane in the laboratory, but field studies of microbial-driven dynamics of C2/C3 gases in cold-seep sediments are rare. Here, we present the results of a series of incubation experiments using sediment slurries culled from surface sediments from one of the most prolific natural oil and gas seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. Rates of alkane oxidation were measured under a variety of conditions to assess the surface-driven microbial controls on C2/C3 cycling in cold-seep environments. Such microbial processes

  12. Turbine tent measurements of marine hydrocarbon seeps on subhourly timescales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leifer, Ira; Boles, Jim

    2005-01-01

    Three turbine seep-tents simultaneously measured marine seep gas fluxes with high time resolution (0.2 s) at multiple locations. Tents were inverted polyvinyl cones, 2-m diameter, 1-m tall, and weighted on their lower skirt edges. Rising gas bubbles induce vertical fluid motions, which were measured by laboratory-calibrated turbines in chimneys on top of the tents. Initial deployment was at an active seep area in the Coal Oil Point seep field, in the Santa Barbara Channel, California. The three tents simultaneously collected data for continuous time periods of 2 hours in both the morning and afternoon. Seabed temperature and pressure were acquired every 3 s over the same time periods as the flux measurements from a conductivity temperature depth, CTD, mounted on one tent. Results strongly suggest that oceanic swell had a significant forcing effect on the flux at a subhourly timescale. There was an inverse relationship between effect of swell height on the flux and flux. Swells from 1 to 4 m height and periodicities of 7 and 12 s caused variations of ˜1% to 4% from the average flux. Proposed mechanisms to explain the observations are diffusion with surrounding sediments, termed gas charging, swell induced changes in fracture size, termed fracture forcing, and swell induced vent activation/deactivation, termed pore activation. On the basis of the seep frequency response, we propose pore activation was dominant.

  13. Anaerobic degradation of propane and butane by sulfate-reducing bacteria enriched from marine hydrocarbon cold seeps

    PubMed Central

    Jaekel, Ulrike; Musat, Niculina; Adam, Birgit; Kuypers, Marcel; Grundmann, Olav; Musat, Florin

    2013-01-01

    The short-chain, non-methane hydrocarbons propane and butane can contribute significantly to the carbon and sulfur cycles in marine environments affected by oil or natural gas seepage. In the present study, we enriched and identified novel propane and butane-degrading sulfate reducers from marine oil and gas cold seeps in the Gulf of Mexico and Hydrate Ridge. The enrichment cultures obtained were able to degrade simultaneously propane and butane, but not other gaseous alkanes. They were cold-adapted, showing highest sulfate-reduction rates between 16 and 20 °C. Analysis of 16S rRNA gene libraries, followed by whole-cell hybridizations with sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes showed that each enrichment culture was dominated by a unique phylotype affiliated with the Desulfosarcina-Desulfococcus cluster within the Deltaproteobacteria. These phylotypes formed a distinct phylogenetic cluster of propane and butane degraders, including sequences from environments associated with hydrocarbon seeps. Incubations with 13C-labeled substrates, hybridizations with sequence-specific probes and nanoSIMS analyses showed that cells of the dominant phylotypes were the first to become enriched in 13C, demonstrating that they were directly involved in hydrocarbon degradation. Furthermore, using the nanoSIMS data, carbon assimilation rates were calculated for the dominant cells in each enrichment culture. PMID:23254512

  14. Anaerobic degradation of propane and butane by sulfate-reducing bacteria enriched from marine hydrocarbon cold seeps.

    PubMed

    Jaekel, Ulrike; Musat, Niculina; Adam, Birgit; Kuypers, Marcel; Grundmann, Olav; Musat, Florin

    2013-05-01

    The short-chain, non-methane hydrocarbons propane and butane can contribute significantly to the carbon and sulfur cycles in marine environments affected by oil or natural gas seepage. In the present study, we enriched and identified novel propane and butane-degrading sulfate reducers from marine oil and gas cold seeps in the Gulf of Mexico and Hydrate Ridge. The enrichment cultures obtained were able to degrade simultaneously propane and butane, but not other gaseous alkanes. They were cold-adapted, showing highest sulfate-reduction rates between 16 and 20 °C. Analysis of 16S rRNA gene libraries, followed by whole-cell hybridizations with sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes showed that each enrichment culture was dominated by a unique phylotype affiliated with the Desulfosarcina-Desulfococcus cluster within the Deltaproteobacteria. These phylotypes formed a distinct phylogenetic cluster of propane and butane degraders, including sequences from environments associated with hydrocarbon seeps. Incubations with (13)C-labeled substrates, hybridizations with sequence-specific probes and nanoSIMS analyses showed that cells of the dominant phylotypes were the first to become enriched in (13)C, demonstrating that they were directly involved in hydrocarbon degradation. Furthermore, using the nanoSIMS data, carbon assimilation rates were calculated for the dominant cells in each enrichment culture.

  15. Bivalves from the latest Jurassic-earliest Cretaceous hydrocarbon seep carbonates from central Spitsbergen, Svalbard.

    PubMed

    Hryniewicz, Krzysztof; Little, Crispin T S; Nakrem, Hans Arne

    2014-09-02

    The bivalve fauna from the latest Jurassic-earliest Cretaceous hydrocarbon seep deposits from central Spitsbergen, Svalbard comprises at least 17 species, four of which belong to chemosymbiotic taxa often found at seeps. These are the solemyid Solemya (Petrasma) cf. woodwardiana; Nucinella svalbardensis sp. nov., which belongs to a group of large Nucinella species known from seeps and deep water environments; the lucinid bivalve, Tehamatea rasmusseni sp. nov., included in a genus widely distributed in other Jurassic-Cretaceous seeps; and Cretaxinus hurumi gen. et sp. nov., which is the oldest known thyasirid and is discussed in relation to other large seep-restricted genera in this family. The remaining species in the fauna belong to 'background' genera known from coeval normal marine sediments, mostly from the Boreal area. These include the nuculid Dacromya chetaensis, two new malletiids (Mesosaccella rogovi sp. nov. and M. toddi sp. nov.), the oxytomiid Oxytoma octavia, at least three Buchia species, at least two pectinids, including Camptonectes (Costicamptonectes) aff. milnelandensis and Camptonectes (Camptochlamys) clatrathus, the limid Pseudolimea arctica, the arcticid Pseudotrapezium aff. groenlandicum, and the pholadomyid Goniomya literata. The large number of 'background' species in the bivalve fauna is probably a reflection of the shallow-water setting of the Svalbard seeps. This might also explain the lack of the seep-restricted modiomorphid bivalve Caspiconcha from the fauna. With solemyids, Nucinella, lucinids and thyasirids, the latest Jurassic-earliest Cretaceous bivalve seep fauna of Svalbard contains typical representatives of the Mesozoic bivalve seep faunas, both long established and young evolutionary colonists.

  16. HYFLUX: Satellite Exploration of Natural Hydrocarbon Seeps and Discovery of a Methane Hydrate Mound at GC600

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia-Pineda, O. G.; MacDonald, I. R.; Shedd, W.; Zimmer, B.

    2009-12-01

    Analysis of natural hydrocarbon seeps is important to improve our understanding of methane flux from deeper sediments to the water column. In order to quantify natural hydrocarbon seep formations in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, a set of 686 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images was analyzed using the Texture Classifying Neural Network Algorithm (TCNNA), which processes SAR data to delineate oil slicks. This analysis resulted in a characterization of 396 natural seep sites distributed in the northern GOM. Within these sites, a maximum of 1248 individual vents where identified. Oil reaching the sea-surface is deflected from its source during transit through the water column. This presentation describes a method for estimating locations of active oil vents based on repeated slick detection in SAR. One of the most active seep formations was detected in MMS lease block GC600. A total of 82 SAR scenes (collected by RADARSAT-1 from 1995 to 2007) was processed covering this region. Using TCNNA the area covered by each slick was computed and Oil Slicks Origins (OSO) were selected as single points within detected oil slicks. At this site, oil slick signatures had lengths up to 74 km and up to 27 km^2 of area. Using SAR and TCNNA, four active vents were identified in this seep formation. The geostatistical mean centroid among all detections indicated a location along a ridge-line at ~1200m. Sea truth observations with an ROV, confirmed that the estimated location of vents had a maximum offset of ~30 m from their actual locations on the seafloor. At the largest vent, a 3-m high, 12-m long mound of oil-saturated gas hydrate was observed. The outcrop contained thousands of ice worms and numerous semi-rigid chimneys from where oily bubbles were escaping in a continuous stream. Three additional vents were found along the ridge; these had lower apparent flow, but were also plugged with gas hydrate mounds. These results support use of SAR data for precise delineation of active seep

  17. Importance of seep primary production to Lophelia pertusa and associated fauna in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Becker, Erin L.; Cordes, Erik E.; Macko, Stephen A.; Fisher, Charles R.

    2009-05-01

    To investigate the importance of seep primary production to the nutrition of Lophelia pertusa and associated communities and examine local trophic interactions, we analyzed stable carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur compositions in seven quantitative L. pertusa community collections. A significant seep signature was only detected in one of the 35 species tested ( Provanna sculpta, a common seep gastropod) despite the presence of seep fauna at the three sample sites. A potential predator of L. pertusa was identified ( Coralliophila sp.), and a variety of other trophic interactions among the fauna occupying the coral framework were suggested by the data, including the galatheid crab Munidopsis sp. 2 feeding upon hydroids and the polychaete Eunice sp. feeding upon the sabellid polychaete Euratella sp. Stable carbon abundances were also determined for different sections of L. pertusa skeleton representing different stages in the growth and life of the aggregation. There was no temporal trend detected in the skeleton isotope values, suggesting that L. pertusa settles in these areas only after seepage has largely subsided. Isotope values of individual taxa that were collected from both L. pertusa and vestimentiferan habitats showed decreasing reliance upon seep primary production with average age of the vestimentiferan aggregation, and finally, no seep signature was detected in the coral collections. Together our data suggest that it is the presence of authigenic carbonate substrata, a product of past seep microbial activity, as well as hydrodynamic processes that drive L. pertusa occurrence at seep sites in the Gulf of Mexico, not nutritional dependence upon primary production by seep microbes.

  18. Methanotrophic bacteria occupy benthic microbial mats in shallow marine hydrocarbon seeps, Coal Oil Point, California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ding, Haibing; Valentine, David L.

    2008-03-01

    Microbial mats composed of giant sulfur bacteria are observed throughout the benthos along continental margins. These communities serve to oxidize dissolved sulfides to sulfate, and are typically associated with the recent exposure of sulfide-rich sediments. Such mats are also ubiquitous in areas of hydrocarbon seepage, where they are thought to consume sulfide generated in underlying sediment. Despite the high abundance of dissolved methane in hydrocarbon seeps, few studies have considered the importance of methanotrophy in mat communities. To assess the importance of methanotrophs in microbial mats from hydrocarbon seeps, an approach involving lipid biomarkers, stable isotopes and enrichment culturing was applied. Microbial mat samples were collected from benthic surfaces at two hydrocarbon seeps located in the Coal Oil Point seep field, offshore from Goleta, California. Both samples display a high abundance of 16:1 fatty acids, including two isomers specific to type I methanotrophic bacteria, 16:1(ω8) and 16:1(ω6). Depleted values of δ13C found in 16:1 fatty acids suggests methane assimilation into biomass, whereas three separate investigations of sulfide-oxidizing bacteria yield fractionation factors too small to account for these values. On the basis of these observations and experiments, an isotope mass balance was applied to fatty acids present in the microbial mat samples which indicates methanotrophs contribute up to 46% of total fatty acids. These results implicate methanotrophy as an important function for microbial mats in seep areas, despite the visual appearance of these mats as being composed of giant sulfur bacteria.

  19. Chemoautolithotrophic Primary Production as a Fuel for Heterotrophs in Hydrocarbon Seeps: an Examination of Mobile Benthic Fauna and Seep Residents

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macavoy, S. E.; Morgan, E.; Fisher, C. R.; Carney, R. S.; Macko, S. A.

    2006-05-01

    The continental slope of the Gulf of Mexico supports dense aggregations of tube worms and mussels that are symbiotic with chemoautolithotrophic bacteria. Associated with these communities are numerous heterotrophic fauna plus free-living bacteria. The usage of chemosynthetic production by invertebrate fauna within or near the seeps is largely unknown. Here we examine the stable C, N and S isotope signatures of fauna from 2 chemosynthetic communities to identify ranges of chemoautolithotrophic primary production and determine the usage of that primary production by heterotrophic invertebrates. The isotope range for chemosynthetic production is different between sites. A seep dominated by methane-utilizing mussels (GC233) had the most depleted d13C and d15N (-50 to -65° and -9 to -12°, respectively) but most enriched d34S (11 to 6°). A site dominated by both tube worms and mussels (GC 234) there were two sources of C, one between -24 and -30° and another of approximately -40°. d15N and d34S at GC234 ranged from 1 to 5° and -10 to 6°, respectively. We estimate that hagfish captured 1 km from the communities derived at least 10 percent of their C from chemosynthetic sources. Giant isopods, captured with the hagfish show negligible chemosynthetic usage.

  20. Ethane and propane emissions to the ocean and atmosphere from 550-1200 m seeps in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solomon, E. A.; Kastner, M.; Leifer, I.

    2009-12-01

    Ethane (C2) and propane (C3) are highly reactive trace gases in the atmosphere that are important precursors of organic aerosols and contribute to ozone formation. The global flux of C2 and C3 based on tropospheric removal are 13-15.5 and 12 Tg/yr, respectively. Current emission inventories that include fossil fuel, biomass burning, biofuels, and waste treatment underestimate the global flux by ~2-5 Tg/yr. Previous studies have indicated that the open ocean contributes only marginally to global C2 and C3 budgets, but very few studies have investigated the natural emissions from marine seeps and their potential significance to global C2 and C3 fluxes. During a recent study at 3 seeps at depths from 550-600 m in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), a submersible was used to collect water column samples immediately adjacent to 5 bubble plumes from the seafloor vents to the sea surface. Bottom water C2 and C3 concentrations above the seeps ranged from 24.3-2220 and 15.8-385 nM, respectively. Ethane and propane concentrations decrease by ~50-95% in the bottom 200 m. Mixed layer C2 and C3 concentrations were extremely high ranging from 6.3-147 and 4.0-110 nM. These mixed layer C2 and C3 concentrations are up to 1×105 and 5×105 times saturation with respect to atmospheric equilibrium. In general, C1/C2 and C2/C3 ratios decrease from the seafloor to the mixed layer with surface ratios lower than previously reported from marine seeps and the ocean, indicating preferential loss of light hydrocarbons from the plumes during water column transit. Preliminary results from numerical bubble models show the importance of bubble plume-driven upwelling flows, bubble size, and pressure effects for enhancing hydrocarbon transfer to the mixed layer. Based on contemporaneous wind speeds at the study sites, preliminary estimates for the diffusive C2 and C3 fluxes to the atmosphere above the seeps range from 10-400 μmol/m2d; 2-4 orders of magnitude greater than estimates from the open ocean

  1. Hydrocarbon seep-carbonates of a Miocene forearc (East Coast Basin), North Island, New Zealand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Campbell, Kathleen A.; Francis, David A.; Collins, Mike; Gregory, Murray R.; Nelson, Campbell S.; Greinert, Jens; Aharon, Paul

    2008-02-01

    An ancient hydrocarbon seep province of 14 isolated, authigenic carbonate deposits has been identified in fine-grained, deep-marine siliciclastic strata of the Miocene East Coast Basin, North Island, New Zealand. These forearc sediments have been uplifted and complexly deformed into accretionary ridges, adjacent to the still-active Hikurangi convergent margin. Older active and passive margin strata (mid-Cretaceous to Oligocene in age) underlie the Neogene sequence, and contain oil- and gas-prone source rocks. Older Mesozoic meta-sedimentary rocks constitute the backstop against which the current phase of subduction-related sedimentation has accumulated (~ 24 Ma-present). The seep-carbonates (up to 10 m thick, 200 m across) archive methane signatures in their depleted carbon isotopes (to δ13C -51.7‰ PDB), and contain chemosynthesis-based paleocommunities (e.g. worm tubes, bathymodioline mussels, and vesicomyid, lucinid and thyasirid bivalves) typical of other Cenozoic and modern seeps. Northern and southern sites are geographically separated, and exhibit distinct lithological and faunal differences. Structural settings are variable. Seep-associated lithologies also are varied, and suggest carbonate development in sub-seafloor, seafloor and physically reworked (diapiric expansion, gas explosion, gravity slide or debris flow) settings, similar to Italian Apennine seep deposits of overlapping ages. Peculiar attributes of the New Zealand Miocene seep deposits are several, including digitate thrombolites of clotted microbial micrite encased in thick, isopachous horizons and botryoids of aragonite. Seep plumbing features are also well-exposed at some sites, displaying probable gas-explosion breccias filled with aragonite, tubular concretions (fluid conduits), and carbonate-cemented, thin sandstone beds and burrows within otherwise impermeable mudstones. A few seeps were large enough to develop talus-debris piles on their flanks, which were populated by lucinid bivalves

  2. Geochemical analysis of potash mine seep oils, collapsed breccia pipe oil shows and selected crude oils, Eddy County, New Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Palacas, J.G.; Snyder, R.P.; Baysinger, J.P.; Threlkeld, C.N.

    1982-01-01

    Oil shows, in the form of oil stains and bleeding oil, in core samples from two breccia pipes, Hills A and C, Eddy County, New Mexico, and seepage oils in a potash mine near Hill C breccia pipe are geochemically similar. The geochemical similarities strongly suggest that they belong to the same family of oils and were derived from similar sources. The oils are relatively high in sulfur (0.89 to 1.23 percent), rich in hydrocarbons (average 82 percent), relatively high in saturated hydrocarbon/aromatic hydrocarbon ratios (average 2.9), and based on analysis of seep oils alone, have a low API gravity (average 19.4?). The oils are for the most part severely biodegraded as attested by the loss of n-paraffin molecules. Geochemical comparison of seven crude oils collected in the vicinity of the breccia pipes indicates that the Yates oils are the likely source of the above family of oils. Six barrels of crude oil that were dumped into a potash exploration borehole near Hill C breccia pipe, to release stuck casing, are considered an unlikely source of the breccia pipe and mine seep oils. Volumetric and hydrodynamic constraints make it highly improbable that such a small volume of 'dumped' oil could migrate over distances ranging from about 600 feet to 2.5 miles to the sites of the oil shows.

  3. An evaluation of petrogenic hydrocarbons in northern Gulf of Alaska continental shelf sediments - The role of coastal oil seep inputs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Short, J.W.; Kolak, J.J.; Payne, J.R.; Van Kooten, G. K.

    2007-01-01

    We compared hydrocarbons in water, suspended particulate matter (SPM), and riparian sediment collected from coastal watersheds along the Yakataga foreland with corresponding hydrocarbons in Gulf of Alaska benthic sediments. This comparison allows an evaluation of hydrocarbon contributions to marine sediments from natural oil seeps, coal and organic matter (e.g., kerogen) associated with eroding siliciclastic rocks. The samples from oil seeps show extensive loss of low-molecular weight n-alkanes (hydrocarbon fingerprints on the SPM and riparian sediment samples collected upstream from the oil seeps. After entering the fluvial systems, hydrocarbons from seep oils are rapidly diluted, and associate with the SPM phase as oil-mineral-aggregates (OMA). Johnston Creek, the watershed containing the most prolific seep, conveys detectable seep-derived hydrocarbons to the Gulf of Alaska, but overall seep inputs are largely attenuated by the (non-seep) petrogenic hydrocarbon content of the high SPM loads. In contrast to the geochemical signature of seep oil, Gulf of Alaska benthic sediments are characterized by abundant alkylated naphthalene homologues, relatively smooth n-alkane envelopes (n-C9 through n-C34, but with elevated levels of n-C27, n-C29, and n-C31), and small UCMs. Further, hydrocarbons in benthic sediments are highly intercorrelated. Taken together, these characteristics indicate that seep oil is a negligible petrogenic hydrocarbon source to the Gulf of Alaska continental shelf. Coaly material separated from the benthic sediment samples using a dense liquid (???2.00 g cm-3) also accounted for a minor portion of the total PAH (1-6%) and total n-alkanes (0.4-2%) in the benthic samples. Most of the hydrocarbon burden in the sediments is found in the denser sediment fraction and likely derives from organic matter contributed by denudation of siliciclastic formations in

  4. Modification of sediment geochemistry by the hydrocarbon seep tubeworm Lamellibrachia luymesi: A combined empirical and modeling approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dattagupta, Sharmishtha; Arthur, Michael A.; Fisher, Charles R.

    2008-05-01

    The sulfide-oxidizing symbiotic tubeworm Lamellibrachia luymesi is a dominant member of deep-sea hydrocarbon seep ecosystems on the Gulf of Mexico seafloor. This tubeworm forms large aggregations that can live for centuries and provide habitat for an assortment of associated fauna. Previous studies have suggested that persistence of these tubeworms for such long time periods is contingent upon their ability to supply sediments with sulfate. To examine this hypothesis, we characterized the tubeworm's geochemical environment using pore water peepers and compared the measured depth profiles with those predicted by a sulfur diffusion-reaction-supply model. We found a large range of sulfide concentrations in the tubeworm habitat, indicating that this species can live under conditions of both high and low sulfide availability. In sediments rich in hydrocarbons, we found compelling evidence that tubeworms enhance microbial sulfide production, likely through a combination of sulfide uptake and sulfate release through their root-like structures buried in the sediment. Our in situ empirical data combined with the results of the geochemical model corroborate previous physiological studies that indicate that tubeworms release between 70% and 90% of the sulfate produced during sulfide oxidation by their symbionts across their roots into the surrounding sediment. In sediments low in hydrocarbon content, sulfide production is hydrocarbon-limited rather than sulfate-limited, and our model predicts that tubeworm growth could be limited by low sulfide availability.

  5. Seep Carbonates From Tubeworm- and Mussel-Associated Environments at Atwater Valley, Northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feng, D.; Roberts, H. H.; Chen, D.

    2008-12-01

    During 2006 and 2007, MMS and NOAA jointly supported cruises where fifteen hydrocarbon seep sites at greater than 1000 m water depth on the lower Louisiana slope in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) were explored. These sites contain numerous authigenic carbonates as well as high-density communities of tubeworms and mussels. However, the integrated petrographic and geochemical characterization of the tubeworm- and mussel-associated carbonates remains poorly known. Here, a comparative study of petrographic and geochemical features of the carbonate samples from tubeworm- and mussel- associated environments was approached for an active and complex seep site at Atwater Valley lease block 340 (AT 340) at 2200 m water depth in the GOM. The carbonate morphologies include concretion, blocky and massive carbonates up to several meters in size, and irregularly shaped carbonates, some of them are displaying high porosity. Some are highly brecciaed with aragonite layers of varying thicknesses lining fractures and voids. Lithologically, the carbonates are microcrystalline Mg-calcite, calcite and aragonite containing peloids, clasts and shell fragments. The carbon isotopic composition of carbonates varies narrowly, ranging from -46.45 ‰ to - 60.81 ‰, indicating 13C-depleted carbon source probably methane of microbial origin. But the common trend is that the tubeworm-associated carbonates have more depleted δ13C values when compared to mussel-associated carbonates. A similarly small variability of δ18O values (+3.12 ‰ to +5.09 ‰) demonstrates the temperature and/or fluid composition did not change greatly during carbonate. The total content of rare earth elements (REE) of the 5% HNO3-treated solution of the carbonates is from 6.54 ppm to 29.41 ppm. The shale-normalized REE patterns show slightly positive Ce anomalies, suggests that the carbonates precipitated under anoxic conditions. The possible factors (i.e. habitat of chemosynthetic animals, depth of carbonate precipitation

  6. Initial results of comparing cold-seep carbonates from mussel- and tubeworm-associated environments at Atwater Valley lease block 340, northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feng, Dong; Roberts, Harry H.

    2010-11-01

    Chemosymbiotic macrofauna (such as mussels and tubeworms) and authigenic carbonates are typical of many hydrocarbon seeps. To address whether mussels and tubeworms could impact the sediment geochemistry of their habitat where authigenic carbonates are precipitated, a comparative study of petrographic and geochemical features of the authigenic carbonates from mussel- and tubeworm-associated environments at hydrocarbon seeps in Atwater Valley lease area block 340 (AT340) of the Gulf of Mexico was undertaken. Both mussel- and tubeworm-associated carbonates are dominated by high-magnesium calcite (HMC) and aragonite, and two tubeworm-associated carbonate samples have minor amounts of dolomite. The δ13C values of all carbonates are low, ranging from -60.8‰ to -35.5‰ PDB. Although there is much overlap, surprisingly the δ13C values of mussel-associated carbonates are generally higher than those of tubeworm-associated carbonates (-51.8‰ vs. -54.8‰ for an average of over 60 subsamples). It is suggested that (1) carbon isotopic vital effect of seep mussels and tubeworms, (2) fluid physical pumping of mussels, and (3) release of sulfate by tubeworm roots may be responsible for the relatively lower δ13C values of tubeworm-associated carbonates. It has been suggested that the heterogeneities in mineralogy and stable carbon isotope geochemistry of the seep carbonates may be attributed to the activity of macrofauna (mussels and tubeworms) and associated microbes. Our observations also suggest that at AT340 the geochemical evolution of seep macrofauna is from a mussel-dominated environment to a mixed mussel-tubeworm environment, and finally to a mostly tubeworm-dominated environment. This evolution is controlled mainly by the habitat, e.g., hydrocarbon seep flux.

  7. Epizooic metazoan meiobenthos associated with tubeworm and mussel aggregations from cold seeps of the northern Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Bright, M; Plum, C; Riavitz, L A; Nikolov, N; Martinez Arbizu, P; Cordes, E E; Gollner, S

    2010-11-01

    The abundance and higher taxonomic composition of epizooic metazoan meiobenthic communities associated with mussel and tubeworm aggregations of hydrocarbon seeps at Green Canyon, Atwater Valley, and Alaminos Canyon in depths between 1400 and 2800 m were studied and compared to the infaunal community of non-seep sediments nearby. Epizooic meiofaunal abundances of associated meiobenthos living in tubeworm bushes and mussel beds at seeps were extremely low (usually <100 ind. 10 cm(-2)), similar to epizooic meiofauna at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, and the communities were composed primarily of nematodes, copepods, ostracods, and halacarids. In contrast, epizooic meiobenthic abundance is lower than previous studies have reported for infauna from seep sediments. Interestingly, non-seep sediments contained higher abundances and higher taxonomic diversity than epizooic seep communities, although in situ primary production is restricted to seeps.

  8. Epizooic metazoan meiobenthos associated with tubeworm and mussel aggregations from cold seeps of the northern Gulf of Mexico

    PubMed Central

    Bright, M.; Plum, C.; Riavitz, L.A.; Nikolov, N.; Martinez Arbizu, P.; Cordes, E.E.; Gollner, S.

    2010-01-01

    The abundance and higher taxonomic composition of epizooic metazoan meiobenthic communities associated with mussel and tubeworm aggregations of hydrocarbon seeps at Green Canyon, Atwater Valley, and Alaminos Canyon in depths between 1400 and 2800 m were studied and compared to the infaunal community of non-seep sediments nearby. Epizooic meiofaunal abundances of associated meiobenthos living in tubeworm bushes and mussel beds at seeps were extremely low (usually <100 ind. 10 cm−2), similar to epizooic meiofauna at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, and the communities were composed primarily of nematodes, copepods, ostracods, and halacarids. In contrast, epizooic meiobenthic abundance is lower than previous studies have reported for infauna from seep sediments. Interestingly, non-seep sediments contained higher abundances and higher taxonomic diversity than epizooic seep communities, although in situ primary production is restricted to seeps. PMID:21264038

  9. Deep-water hydrocarbon seeps in Guaymas Basin, Gulf of California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Simoneit, B.R.T.; Lonsdale, P.F.; Edmond, J.M.; Shanks, Wayne C.

    1990-01-01

    Acoustically discovered hydrocarbon seeps along a transform fault zone on the Sonoran margin of Guaymas Basin and in the Southern Trough of Guaymas Basin were examined and sampled during dives of DSV Alvin. Seepage of methane and heavier hydrocarbons occurs through shallow pockmarks along the eroding crest of a steep anticline, 1600 m below sea level. Extensive ledges of aragonite crop out around the rims of the pockmarks; isotopic analysis indicates that carbonate precipitation is a result of methane oxidation. Seepage zones within the pockmarks support dense communities of Calyptogena, half buried in the mud; tubeworms (Lamellibracheae sp.) have colonized many of the aragonite outcrops. Though the margin site is only a few kilometers from a high-temperature sulfide-precipitating and petroleum-discharging vent system at a nearby center, its structural setting is more akin to pockmarks described from continental shelves, and its chemosynthetic fauna is more like that around low temperature seeps on other continental slopes and margins (e.g. Oregon, U.S.A., and Japan). The seep in the Southern Trough is a condensate-type petroleum (C1-C40) and rises as a plume from a young vent-mound system about 2000 m below sea level. ?? 1990.

  10. Geochemical Tracers and Rates of Short-Chain Alkane Production in Gulf of Mexico Cold Seep Sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sibert, R.; Bernard, B. B.; Brooks, J. M.; Hunter, K.; Joye, S. B.

    2014-12-01

    The organic-rich cold seep sediments in the deep Gulf of Mexico commonly contain mixtures of light hydrocarbon gases either dissolved in pore fluids, adsorbed to sediment particles, trapped in methane ice, or as free gas. The dominant component in these natural gas mixtures is typically methane (C1), but ethane (C2) and propane (C3) are nearly always present in trace or major amounts. The ratio of C1:C2:C3 varies but C2 and C3 are typically present at single digit percent levels, whereas methane usually dominates at >80%. Methane production proceeds by at least two well-studied mechanisms: either 1) by thermocatalytic cracking of fossil organic matter, or 2) as a direct product of microbial metabolism, methanogenesis. In contrast, ethane and propane production in deep-sea sediments has been historically attributed only to thermocatalytic processes. However, limited data suggests production of C2/C3 compounds through the activity of archaea. Such studies of microbial- driven dynamics of C2/C3 gases (i.e. 'alkanogenesis') in cold seep sediments are rare. Furthermore, the identities of potential substrates are poorly constrained and no attempt has been made to quantify production rates of C2/C3 gases. However, carbon isotopic data on ethane and propane from deep cores from the Gulf of Mexico suggest alkanogenesis at depth in the sediment column and alkane oxidation in uppermost oxidant-rich sediments. Here, we present the results of a series of incubation experiments using sediment slurries culled from GC600, one of the most prolific natural oil and gas seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. Rates of both alkane production and oxidation were measured under a variety of conditions to assess the net rates of alkane production and elucidate the driving microbiological mechanisms and controls on the central processes of >C1 alkane cycling in cold seep sediments. Microbial processes are important both in terms of alkane production and oxidation, raising many questions as to the

  11. Jurassic hydrocarbon seep-carbonates in the High Atlas Basin (Morocco)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bodin, Stephane; Kothe, Tim; Rose, Johannes; Krencker, Francois-Nicolas; Kabiri, Lahcen

    2015-04-01

    In the central High Atlas Basin of Morocco, the occurrence of Jurassic hydrocarbon seeps is observed in two distinct horizons: (1) the uppermost Polymorphum ammonite zone (Lower Toarcian) and (2) the Sauzei (eq. Propiquans) ammonite zone (Lower Bajocian). The Toarcian seep-carbonates are made of 5 - 6cm in diameter, half-spherical concretions that surround two vertical and closely spaced tubes, parallel to each other. Each tube is less than 1cm in diameter and filled with late diagenetic cements. The tubes are interpreted as burrow trace fossil. The concretions are embedded within an organic-matter rich interval and resemble to the Tisoa siphonalis concretions described in the upper Pliensbachian of Western Europe. Carbon isotope values decrease from the rim to the center of the concretion (from 1 to -7 per mil) whereas oxygen isotope values remain stable around -7 per mil. The C-isotope values of the concretion rim are similar to the bulk carbon isotope values of the embedding rocks. The most negative C-isotope values indicate that the carbon source of the carbonate precipitated in the centre of the concretion is likely sourced from the organoclastic sulfate reduction zone. The Bajocian seep-carbonates are observed within the dark calcareous mudstone of the Sauzei zone. One peculiarly well-exposed seep system shows the presence of a plumbing system leading to a 20cm thick carbonate crust showing the occasional occurrence of chimney structures on its upper part. The high abundance of serpulids clusters within the carbonate crust shows that it was precipitated at the water-sediment interface. The pipe structures of the plumbing system are composed of an external micritic rim enclosing a central tube that can be up to 12cm large. A complex, multi-phased infilling is observed in the inner part of the pipe and separated from the rim by a millimetric pyritized crust. Carbon isotope values are comprised between -20 per mil and -8 per mil for the micritic rim, whereas the

  12. Temperature-Dependent Variations in Sulfate-Reducing Communities Associated with a Terrestrial Hydrocarbon Seep

    PubMed Central

    Cheng, Ting-Wen; Lin, Li-Hung; Lin, Yue-Ting; Song, Sheng-Rong; Wang, Pei-Ling

    2014-01-01

    Terrestrial hydrocarbon seeps are an important source of naturally emitted methane over geological time. The exact community compositions responsible for carbon cycling beneath these surface features remain obscure. As sulfate reduction represents an essential process for anoxic organic mineralization, this study collected muddy fluids from a high-temperature hydrocarbon seep in Taiwan and analyzed community structures of sulfate-supplemented sediment slurries incubated anoxically at elevated temperatures. The results obtained demonstrated that sulfate consumption occurred between 40°C and 80°C. Dominant potential sulfate reducers included Desulfovibrio spp., Desulfonatronum spp., Desulforhabdus spp., and Desulfotomaculum spp. at 40°C, Thermodesulfovibrio spp. at 50°C, Thermodesulfovibrio spp. and Thermacetogenium spp. at 60°C, Thermacetogenium spp. and Archaeoglobus spp. at 70°C, and Archaeoglobus spp. at 80°C. None of these potential sulfate reducers exceeded 7% of the community in the untreated sample. Since no exogenous electron donor was provided during incubation, these sulfate reducers appeared to rely on the degradation of organic matter inherited from porewater and sediments. Aqueous chemistry indicated that fluids discharged in the region represented a mixture of saline formation water and low-salinity surface water; therefore, these lines of evidence suggest that deeply-sourced, thermophilic and surface-input, mesophilic sulfate-reducing populations entrapped along the subsurface fluid transport could respond rapidly once the ambient temperature is adjusted to a range close to their individual optima. PMID:25273230

  13. Deep sequencing of Myxilla (Ectyomyxilla) methanophila, an epibiotic sponge on cold-seep tubeworms, reveals methylotrophic, thiotrophic, and putative hydrocarbon-degrading microbial associations.

    PubMed

    Arellano, Shawn M; Lee, On On; Lafi, Feras F; Yang, Jiangke; Wang, Yong; Young, Craig M; Qian, Pei-Yuan

    2013-02-01

    The encrusting sponge Myxilla (Ectyomyxilla) methanophila (Poecilosclerida: Myxillidae) is an epibiont on vestimentiferan tubeworms at hydrocarbon seeps on the upper Louisiana slope of the Gulf of Mexico. It has long been suggested that this sponge harbors methylotrophic bacteria due to its low δ(13)C value and high methanol dehydrogenase activity, yet the full community of microbial associations in M. methanophila remained uncharacterized. In this study, we sequenced 16S rRNA genes representing the microbial community in M. methanophila collected from two hydrocarbon-seep sites (GC234 and Bush Hill) using both Sanger sequencing and next-generation 454 pyrosequencing technologies. Additionally, we compared the microbial community in M. methanophila to that of the biofilm collected from the associated tubeworm. Our results revealed that the microbial diversity in the sponges from both sites was low but the community structure was largely similar, showing a high proportion of methylotrophic bacteria of the genus Methylohalomonas and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading bacteria of the genera Cycloclasticus and Neptunomonas. Furthermore, the sponge microbial clone library revealed the dominance of thioautotrophic gammaproteobacterial symbionts in M. methanophila. In contrast, the biofilm communities on the tubeworms were more diverse and dominated by the chemoorganotrophic Moritella at GC234 and methylotrophic Methylomonas and Methylohalomonas at Bush Hill. Overall, our study provides evidence to support previous suggestion that M. methanophila harbors methylotrophic symbionts and also reveals the association of PAH-degrading and thioautotrophic microbes in the sponge.

  14. The world's most spectacular marine hydrocarbon seeps (Coal Oil Point, Santa Barbara Channel, California): Quantification of emissions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hornafius, J. Scott; Quigley, Derek; Luyendyk, Bruce P.

    1999-09-01

    We used 50 kHz sonar data to estimate natural hydrocarbon emission rates from the 18 km2 marine seep field offshore from Coal Oil Point, Santa Barbara, California. The hydrocarbon gas emission rate is 1.7 ± 0.3 × 105 m3 d-1 (including gas captured by a subsea seep containment device) and the associated oil emission rate is 1.6 ± 0.2 × 104 Ld-1 (100 barrels d-1). The nonmethane hydrocarbon emission rate from the gas seepage is 35±7 td-1 and a large source of air pollution in Santa Barbara County. Our estimate is equal to twice the emission rate from all the on-road vehicle traffic in the county. Our estimated methane emission rate for the Coal Oil Point seeps (80±12 td-1) is 4 times higher than previous estimates. The most intense areas of seepage correspond to structural culminations along anticlinal axes. Seep locations are mostly unchanged from those documented in 1946, 1953, and 1973. An exception is the seepage field that once existed near offshore oil platform Holly. A reduction in seepage within a 1 km radius around this offshore platform is correlated with reduced reservoir pressure beneath the natural seeps due to oil production. Our findings suggest that global emissions of methane from natural marine seepage have been underestimated and may be decreasing because of oil production.

  15. Escarpment seeps at Shiprock, New Mexico. [Risk posed by seep water to human health and the environment

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1991-10-01

    The purpose of this report is to characterize the seeps identified at the Shiprock UMTRA Project site during the prelicensing custodial care inspection conducted in December of 1990, to evaluate the relationship between the seeps and uranium processing activities or tailings disposal, and to evaluate the risk posed by the seep water to human health and the environment. The report provides a brief description of the geology, groundwater hydrology, and surface water hydrology. The locations of the seeps and monitor wells are identified, and the water quality of the seeps and groundwater is discussed in the context of past activities at the site. The water quality records for the site are presented in tables and appendices; this information was used in the risk assessment of seep water.

  16. Food-web structure of seep sediment macrobenthos from the Gulf of Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Demopoulos, Amanda W.J.; Gualtieri, Daniel; Kovacs, Kaitlin

    2010-01-01

    The slope environment of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) supports dense communities of seep megafaunal invertebrates that rely on endosymbiotic bacteria for nutrition. Seep sediments also contain smaller macrofaunal invertebrates whose nutritional pathways are not well understood. Using stable-isotope analysis, we investigate the utilization of chemosynthetically fixed and methane-derived organic matter by macrofauna. Biological sampling was conducted in three lower-slope GOM seep environs: Green Canyon (GC852, 1428 m), Atwater Valley (AT340, 2230 m), and Alaminos Canyon (AC601, 2384 m). Infaunal delta13C and delta15N exhibited a broad range of values; most infauna appeared to be heterotrophic, although several taxa had very light delta15N and delta13C values, indicating possible reliance on chemoautotrophic symbioses. The lightest delta13C and delta15N values were observed in nematodes (delta13C=-54.6 + or - 0.1 per mil, delta15N=-6.1 + or - 0.2 per mil) and one gastropod (delta13C=-54.1 per mil, delta15N=-1.1 per mil) from Green Canyon. Mixing-model results indicated that sulfur-oxidizing Beggiatoa may be an important food source for seep infauna; the rate of utilization ranged from 60% to 100% at Green Canyon and Atwater Valley. The overall range in isotope values was similar across the three sites, suggesting that biogeochemical processes may be very similar in these geographically distinct areas.

  17. Food-web structure of seep sediment macrobenthos from the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Demopoulos, Amanda W. J.; Gualtieri, Daniel; Kovacs, Kaitlin

    2010-11-01

    The slope environment of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) supports dense communities of seep megafaunal invertebrates that rely on endosymbiotic bacteria for nutrition. Seep sediments also contain smaller macrofaunal invertebrates whose nutritional pathways are not well understood. Using stable-isotope analysis, we investigate the utilization of chemosynthetically fixed and methane-derived organic matter by macrofauna. Biological sampling was conducted in three lower-slope GOM seep environs: Green Canyon (GC852, 1428 m), Atwater Valley (AT340, 2230 m), and Alaminos Canyon (AC601, 2384 m). Infaunal δ13C and δ15N exhibited a broad range of values; most infauna appeared to be heterotrophic, although several taxa had very light δ15N and δ13C values, indicating possible reliance on chemoautotrophic symbioses. The lightest δ13C and δ15N values were observed in nematodes (δ13C=-54.6±0.1‰, δ15N=-6.1±0.2‰) and one gastropod (δ13C=-54.1‰, δ15N=-1.1‰) from Green Canyon. Mixing-model results indicated that sulfur-oxidizing Beggiatoa may be an important food source for seep infauna; the rate of utilization ranged from 60% to 100% at Green Canyon and Atwater Valley. The overall range in isotope values was similar across the three sites, suggesting that biogeochemical processes may be very similar in these geographically distinct areas.

  18. Identification of Methane, Ethane, and Propane Oxidizing Bacteria at Marine Hydrocarbon Seeps by Stable Isotope Probing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Redmond, M.; Ding, H.; Friedrich, M. W.; Valentine, D. L.

    2008-12-01

    Hydrocarbon seeps emit substantial amounts of oil and natural gas into the marine environment, where they can be oxidized by microorganisms in the sediment and water column. Here, we used stable isotope probing of DNA and lipid biomarkers to identify the microorganisms actively consuming 13C-labeled natural gas compounds in seep sediment samples. Surface sediment was collected from the Coal Oil Point seep field (offshore Santa Barbara, California, USA) and incubated under aerobic conditions with 13C labeled methane, ethane, or propane for up to 37 days, with sediment sub-samples taken at 3-4 intermediate time points. DNA was extracted from sediment and separated by CsCl density gradient centrifugation. The microbial community in each fraction was profiled using T-RFLP, and bacterial 16S rRNA gene clone libraries were constructed from un-incubated hydrocarbon seep sediment and selected isotopically 'heavy' (13C) and 'light' (12C) gradient fractions from ethane incubations. All clone libraries were dominated by sequences from members of the family Rhodobacteraceae (>25% of sequences) and a diverse group of Gammaproteobacteria, including sequences related to those of methylotrophs and to those of bacteria known to consume the longer-chain alkanes present in crude oil. After 14 days of incubation, the relative abundance of Rhodobacteraceae was higher in 'heavy' fractions from the 13C-ethane incubation than in 'light' fractions, suggesting incorporation of 13C label. The Rhodobacteraceae are very diverse metabolically, but have often been observed in abundance in oil contaminated seawater. Several members of this group have been shown to oxidize longer chain alkanes (C10 or higher), but none have been previously linked to the consumption of the gaseous alkanes ethane, propane, and butane. For the final time point, 13C content of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) were also analyzed, showing substantial incorporation of 13C over 37 days. In the methane incubation

  19. In-situ and on-line measurement of gas flux at a hydrocarbon seep from the northern South China Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Di, Pengfei; Feng, Dong; Chen, Duofu

    2014-06-01

    Natural hydrocarbon seeps in the marine environment are important sources of methane and other greenhouse gases to the ocean and the atmosphere. Accurate quantification of methane flux at hydrocarbon seeps is therefore necessary to evaluate their influence on the global methane budget and climate change. Hydrocarbon seeps on the seabed produce a near-shore gas bubble zone along the shallow western coast of Hainan Island, northern South China Sea. An in-situ and on-line gas flux measuring device was deployed over a hydrocarbon seep to quantify the gas flux by equal volume exchange venting from the seabed offshore of Ledong Town, Hainan Island, over 19 days. The physiochemical parameters and the dissolved methane concentration of the bottom water at the hydrocarbon seep were also measured. The gas flux from the hydrocarbon seep varied from 22 to 77 l/day with the tidal period and was strongly negatively correlated with water depth. The flux data from the seep suggests that the variation in hydrostatic pressure induced by tidal forcing and ocean swell may control the variation of the gas flux. The bottom water dissolved methane concentration, ranging from 26 to 74 nmol/L, was negatively correlated with temperature and water depth at the seabed and positively with the gas flux. The total gas volume released from the hydrocarbon seep was 30.5 m3 for the 19-day period, providing an estimated gas flux of 600 m3/yr. The 120 known hydrocarbon seeps along the eastern edge of the Yinggehai Basin could vent a large quantity of methane from the seafloor, which suggests that hydrocarbon seeps on the continental margin of the northern South China Sea may be an important natural source of methane to the atmosphere.

  20. Spatial and temporal characterization of a cold seep-hydrate system (Woolsey Mound, deep-water Gulf of Mexico)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simonetti, Antonello

    Cold seeps are areas where methane is transferred from the lithosphere into the hydrosphere, accounting for the major source of hydrocarbons in seawaters. Formation of gas hydrate in cold seeps modulates the global discharge of methane to the environment. However, cold seeps are dynamic settings where hydrates dissociate on short and long time-scales triggering substantial methane fluxes to the oceans. These methane vents sustain unique ecosystems at the ocean floors and contribute to ocean acidification. Also, the methane can potentially reach the sea surface and be exchanged with the atmosphere contributing to global warming. Understanding how cold seep-hydrate systems (CSHSs) operate through time and space is therefore crucial to evaluate their global impact on ocean biogeochemistry and climate. The area investigated is Woolsey Mound, a CSHS located in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. For the first part of the research, the goal was to determine the spatial distribution of subsurface gas hydrate at this site. In terms of hydrate-reservoir category, Woolsey Mound is classified as "seafloor mound" and "fractured mud". To date, these two categories are poorly constrained worldwide. This study documents a successful integration of high-resolution seismic and core data to detect the spatial distribution of hydrates in such settings. The approach adopted and the model may be applied globally for these reservoir categories. The aim of the second part was to untangle the contentious long-term (thousands to millions of years) dynamics driving methane hydrate dissociation and seepage in CSHSs. Analyses on high-resolution seismic data suggest that tectonics is the main forcing mechanism and that CSHSs may operate independently from eustatic fluctuations. This contradicts the broad consensus in the literature about methane seepage in CSHSs being systematically triggered during sea-level lowstand. The third part of the research aimed to characterize the short-term (years

  1. Hydrocarbon Seepage and Gas Hydrate Deposits in the Southern Gulf of Mexico - Results From R/V Sonne Cruise 174.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naehr, T. H.; MacDonald, I. R.; Bohrmann, G.; Briones, E. E.

    2003-12-01

    During October and November 2003, the German ship R/V Sonne visited the Campeche Escarpment in the southern Gulf of Mexico. The primary objectives of the cruise were the following: 1) extend our knowledge of gas hydrates buried just below the seafloor in the deep ocean; 2) determine whether natural hydrocarbon seeps in the southern Gulf of Mexico support chemosynthetic fauna, and 3) pinpoint sites for future exploration with deep-diving submersibles. Recent findings indicate that marine deposits of gas hydrate represent an important contribution to the global carbon cycle. Methane released from the gas hydrate reservoir may interact with other components of the Earth system influencing climate and is a potential source of energy. Although most gas hydrate is buried under hundreds of meters of marine sediment, the Gulf of Mexico is one place where it exists at or near the seafloor, where it can be sampled and studied. Gas hydrate is one component of the natural hydrocarbon system of the Gulf of Mexico; other components - known primarily from the northern Gulf - include oil seeps that produce natural oil "spills" visible from space and lush communities of chemosynthetic tubeworms and mussels. Natural oil seeps also occur in the southern Gulf of Mexico on the Campeche Escarpment and were expected to harbor chemosynthetic fauna and possibly gas hydrates. Recently, satellite remote sensing has been successfully used to pinpoint active seeps based on the unusual synthetic aperture radar signature generated by oil slicks on the sea surface in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Using a combination of satellite image analyses, acoustic profiling techniques, detailed bathymetric mapping, and interpretation of seafloor reflectivity data, we were able to identify and study such areas of active seafloor seepage of hydrocarbons in the previously unexplored southern Gulf of Mexico.

  2. Community composition and temporal change at deep Gulf of Mexico cold seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lessard-Pilon, Stephanie; Porter, Matthew D.; Cordes, Erik E.; MacDonald, Ian; Fisher, Charles R.

    2010-11-01

    Specialized cold-seep communities have been known to exist in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) since the mid-1980s, but only recently has extensive research been carried out on sites at depths >1000 m. This study uses a combination of imagery and analyses within a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) framework to examine the composition of mussel and tubeworm communities at depths between 2200 and 2800 m in the Gulf of Mexico, spatial relations among the fauna, and changes in these communities over time. Photomosaics at three discrete seep communities were obtained in 2006 and a video mosaic of another community was obtained in 1992. Each of these communities was re-imaged in 2007. In addition, quantitative physical collections were made within two of the photomosaic sites and used to confirm the identification of megafauna, quantify the occurrence of smaller and cryptic macrofauna, and allow first-order calculations of biomass within the sites. Substrate type had a significant effect on community composition. Significant associations were identified between live mussels with anemones, shrimp, and sea cucumbers, and between tubeworm aggregations and Munidopsis sp. crabs and encrusting fauna, indicating differences in the composition of megafauna associated with adjacent mussel and tubeworm aggregations. Little change was seen in the total area colonized by foundation fauna (tubeworms and mussels) between years at any site. However, significant changes occurred in the positions of mussels, even over periods of a single year, at all sites, and evidence for the establishment of new tubeworm aggregations between 1992 and 2007 was noted at one site. These photomosaics provide data suggesting that environmental conditions can change over small spatial and temporal scales and mussels move in response to these changes. The successional trends are examined and compared to the patterns that have been documented in shallow (<1000-m depth) Gulf of Mexico seep communities.

  3. New records and a new species of bivalve (Mollusca: Bivalvia) from Miocene hydrocarbon seep deposits, North Island, New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Saether, Kristian P; Jingeng, Sha; Little, Crispin T S; Campbell, Kathleen A

    2016-08-18

    Fourteen bivalve taxa belonging to 11 families are present in at least 13 early to middle Miocene hydrocarbon seep deposits in the East Coast Basin, North Island, New Zealand. Among these are at least three new species, one of which, Semeloidea (s. l.) bexhavenensis sp. nov. (Lasaeidae), is described here. New distribution data are recorded for bivalve species in the families Limidae, Propeamussiidae, Malleidae and Solemyidae. Additional morphological details of Gigantidas coseli (Mytilidae) and Pratulum quinarium (Cardiidae) are provided based upon previously unrecorded internal shell features. Palaeoecological analysis indicates that bivalves utilized a broad range of modes of life and niches within the New Zealand Miocene seep environment, and no more than ca. 30% of these bivalve species were likely to have been obligate to seeps.

  4. Stable isotopes provide new insights into vestimentiferan physiological ecology at Gulf of Mexico cold seeps.

    PubMed

    Becker, Erin Leigh; Macko, Stephen A; Lee, Raymond W; Fisher, Charles R

    2011-02-01

    On the otherwise low-biomass seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) continental slope, natural oil and gas seeps are oases of local primary production that support lush animal communities. Hundreds of seep communities have been documented on the continental slope, and nutrition derived from seeps could be an important link in the overall GoM food web. Here, we present a uniquely large and cohesive data set of δ(13)C, δ(15)N, and δ(34)S compositions of the vestimentiferan tubeworms Escarpia laminata and Lamellibrachia sp. 1, which dominate biomass at GoM seeps and provide habitat for hundreds of other species. Our sampling design encompassed an entire region of the GoM lower slope, allowing us for the first time to assess spatial variability in isotope compositions and to robustly address long-standing hypotheses about how vestimentiferans acquire and cycle nutrients over their long lifespan (200+ years). Tissue δ(13)C values provided strong evidence that larger adult vestimentiferans use their buried roots to take up dissolved inorganic carbon from sediment pore water, while very small individuals use their plume to take up carbon dioxide from the seawater. δ(34)S values were extremely variable among individuals of the same species within one location (<1 m(2) area), indicating high variability in the inorganic sulfur pools on a very small spatial scale. This finding supports the hypothesis that vestimentiferans use their roots to cycle sulfate and sulfide between their symbionts and free-living consortia of sulfate-reducing archaea in the sediment. Finally, consistent differences in δ(15)N between two cooccurring vestimentiferan species provided the first strong evidence for partitioning of inorganic resources, which has significant implications for the ecology and evolution of this taxonomic group.

  5. Benthic Community Structure and Sediment Geochemical Properties at Hydrocarbon Seeps Along the Continental Slope of the Western North Atlantic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Demopoulos, A. W.; Bourque, J. R.; Brooke, S.

    2015-12-01

    Hydrocarbon seeps support distinct benthic communities capable of utilizing reduced chemical compounds for nutrition. In recent years, methane seepage has been increasingly documented along the continental slope of the U.S. Atlantic margin. In 2012 and 2013, two seeps were investigated in this region: a shallow site near Baltimore Canyon (410-450 m) and a deep site near Norfolk Canyon (1600 m). Both sites contain extensive mussel beds and microbial mats. Sediment cores and grab samples were collected to quantify the abundance, diversity, and community structure of benthic macrofauna (>300 mm) in relationship to the associated sediment environment (organic carbon and nitrogen, stable isotopes 13C and 15N, grain size, and depth) of mussel beds, mats, and slope habitats. Macrofaunal densities in microbial mats were four times greater than those present in mussel beds and slope sediments. Macrofaunal communities were distinctly different both between depths and among habitat types. Specifically, microbial mat sediments were dominated by the annelid families Dorvilleidae, Capitellidae, and Tubificidae, while mussel habitats had higher proportions of crustaceans. Diversity was lower in Baltimore microbial mat habitats, but higher in mussel and slope sediments compared to Norfolk seep habitats found at deeper depths. Multivariate statistical analysis identified sediment carbon:nitrogen (C:N) ratios and 13C values as important variables for structuring the macrofaunal communities. Higher C:N ratios were present within microbial mat habitats and depleted 13C values occurred in sediments adjacent to mussel beds found in Norfolk Canyon seeps. Differences in the quality and source of organic matter present in the seep habitats are known to be important drivers in macrofaunal community structure and associated food webs. The multivariate analysis provides new insight into the relative importance of the seep sediment quality in supporting dense macrofaunal communities compared

  6. Evidence of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor in chemosynthetic mussels from the Gulf of Mexico

    SciTech Connect

    Willett, K.; Thomsen, J.; Wilson, C.; McDonald, S.; Safe, S.

    1995-12-31

    The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor that controls expression of various genes including cytochrome P450. Polynuclear aromatic and halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons are agonists for the AhR in fish and mammalian species. Previously, a homologous AhR has not been identified in marine invertebrate species. Chemosynthetic mussels were collected from gas and petroleum seeps in the Gulf of Mexico to investigate the presence of the AhR and the induction of the cytochrome P450 system. Aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase and glutathione S-transferase activities in the gill and hepatopancreas were elevated in the petroleum seep mussels relative to those from the gas seep. A nuclear AhR in the hepatopancreas was detected in both mussel populations after treatment with [{sup 3}H]-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (tcdd) followed by sucrose density gradient analysis. Gel mobility shift assays using a labeled dioxin responsive element (DRE) oligonucleotide and tcdd-transformed mussel cytosol showed a retarded band which could be competed with excess unlabeled DRE. Results from gel shifts indicated specific binding of the tcdd-mussel AhR complex to its responsible element. Finally, PCR primers designed to amplify a 700 base pair region of the human AhR detected AhR mRNA in both mussel populations. The sequence of this PCR product is being determined. The presence of the AhR in marine invertebrates has important implications in the evolutionary age of the AhR.

  7. Physical and geochemical drivers of CDOM variability near a natural seep site in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edwards, C. R.; Powers, L.; Medeiros, P. M.

    2016-02-01

    Colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) on the continental shelf and slope can serve as a marker for fresh water influence, indicate the presence of hydrocarbons, and provide important clues about nutrient content and organic matter cycling. Autonomous underwater vehicles such as gliders allow for subsurface measurement of CDOM fluorescence for weeks to months; these time series may be especially valuable in the northern Gulf of Mexico, where CDOM inputs of both terrestrial and oil and gas sources can be significant. Data from a recent glider deployment near a natural seep site (GC600) on the continental slope over 180km from shore suggest simultaneous influence of Mississippi plume water and hydrocarbon inputs in the upper 200m, with variability in fluorescence at a range of vertical and temporal scales. We will explore patterns in spatial and temporal variability of glider-measured hydrography, dissolved oxygen, and bio-optical data (CDOM, chlorophyll-a, backscatter fluorescence), and use their combination to infer a terrigenous and/or fossil fuel source(s). Taking advantage of a combination of satellite sea surface temperature, ocean color, wind, and data from moored and mobile platforms, we will examine physical controls on transport and vertical mixing of CDOM and the potential role of nonlinear mesoscale eddies, which can trap water in their interior and may transport river- or hydrocarbon-derived CDOM over long distances. The combined data set will be used to consider and potentially constrain the effect of photodegradation and other biogeochemical causes for CDOM fluorescence variability in the upper 200m.

  8. Enumeration of viruses and prokaryotes in deep-sea sediments and cold seeps of the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kellogg, Christina A.

    2010-11-01

    Little is known about the distribution and abundance of viruses in deep-sea cold-seep environments. Like hydrothermal vents, seeps support communities of macrofauna that are sustained by chemosynthetic bacteria. Sediments close to these communities are hypothesized to be more microbiologically active and therefore to host higher numbers of viruses than non-seep areas. Push cores were taken at five types of Gulf of Mexico habitats at water depths below 1000 m using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The habitats included non-seep reference sediment, brine seeps, a microbial mat, an urchin field, and a pogonophoran worm community. Samples were processed immediately for enumeration of viruses and prokaryotes without the addition of a preservative. Prokaryote counts were an order of magnitude lower in sediments directly in contact with macrofauna (urchins, pogonophorans) compared to all other samples (107 vs. 108 cells g-1 dry weight) and were highest in areas of elevated salinity (brine seeps). Viral-Like Particle (VLP) counts were lowest in the reference sediments and pogonophoran cores (108 VLP g-1 dry wt), higher in brine seeps (109 VLP g-1 dry wt), and highest in the microbial mats (1010 VLP g-1 dry wt). Virus-prokaryote ratios (VPR) ranged from <5 in the reference sediment to >30 in the microbial mats and >60 in the urchin field. VLP counts and VPR were all significantly greater than those reported from sediments in the deep Mediterranean Sea and in most cases were higher than recent data from a cold-seep site near Japan. The high VPR suggest that greater microbial activity in or near cold-seep environments results in greater viral production and therefore higher numbers of viruses.

  9. Enumeration of viruses and prokaryotes in deep-sea sediments and cold seeps of the Gulf of Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kellogg, Christina A.

    2010-01-01

    Little is known about the distribution and abundance of viruses in deep-sea cold-seep environments. Like hydrothermal vents, seeps support communities of macrofauna that are sustained by chemosynthetic bacteria. Sediments close to these communities are hypothesized to be more microbiologically active and therefore to host higher numbers of viruses than non-seep areas. Push cores were taken at five types of Gulf of Mexico habitats at water depths below 1000 m using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The habitats included non-seep reference sediment, brine seeps, a microbial mat, an urchin field, and a pogonophoran worm community. Samples were processed immediately for enumeration of viruses and prokaryotes without the addition of a preservative. Prokaryote counts were an order of magnitude lower in sediments directly in contact with macrofauna (urchins, pogonophorans) compared to all other samples (107 vs. 108 cells g-1 dry weight) and were highest in areas of elevated salinity (brine seeps). Viral-Like Particle (VLP) counts were lowest in the reference sediments and pogonophoran cores (108 VLP g-1 dry wt), higher in brine seeps (109 VLP g-1 dry wt), and highest in the microbial mats (1010 VLP g-1 dry wt). Virus-prokaryote ratios (VPR) ranged from <5 in the reference sediment to >30 in the microbial mats and >60 in the urchin field. VLP counts and VPR were all significantly greater than those reported from sediments in the deep Mediterranean Sea and in most cases were higher than recent data from a cold-seep site near Japan. The high VPR suggest that greater microbial activity in or near cold-seep environments results in greater viral production and therefore higher numbers of viruses.

  10. Natural hydrocarbon seepage on the continental slope to the east of Mississippi Canyon in the northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rahman Talukder, Asrarur; Ross, Andrew; Crooke, Emma; Stalvies, Charlotte; Trefry, Christine; Qi, Xiubin; Fuentes, David; Armand, Stephane; Revill, Andrew

    2013-06-01

    5 June to 15 September 2010, a multidisciplinary marine survey was undertaken onboard the M/V Ryan Chouest in the region of the BP Deepwater Horizon incident site in the Gulf of Mexico. The primary objective of the survey was the continuous monitoring of hydrocarbon abundance from sea surface down to a maximum depth of 120 m. Compound abundances were inferred using a hydrocarbon sensor array with associated vertical cast system. In order to better understand the potential inputs from natural seepage in the vicinity of the spill, a Simrad EK60 high-resolution split beam echo sounder, operated at 38 kHz, was included in the survey between 7 July and 15 September 2010. During this period, three fields of natural seeps characterized by hydroacoustic flares were studied in detail. These seep fields are at water depths of approximately 430 m, 880 m, and 1370 m. They are associated with extensive cold seep systems. In particular, the area around Seep Field 1 (the vicinity of Deepwater Horizon) seems to present a vast area of active natural seepages in the Gulf of Mexico. The repeat surveys at two of the fields suggested that the cold seep systems here were active, with expulsions of hydrocarbons into the water column, at least during the periods of our acoustic surveys. Multiple lines of evidence gathered during the survey indicated that the observed hydroacoustic flares at the three fields identified consisted of oily bubble streams of gases of thermogenic origin. However, direct observation and sampling are required to reveal the precise nature of the flares. In the deep water Gulf of Mexico, the formation of a hydrate rim around bubbles seems to be a very important mechanism for the long transport of methane and oil in the water column.

  11. Reconnaissance Strategy for Seep Chemosynthetic Communities in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacDonald, I. R.; Roberts, H. H.; Fisher, C. R.; Bernard, B. B.; Joye, S.; Carney, R.; Hunt, J.; Shedd, W.

    2007-05-01

    The Continental Slope of the Gulf of Mexico hosts diverse chemosynthetic communities at oil and gas seeps. Exploration is needed to extend knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico chemosynthetic ecosystem in the zones anticipated to receive energy exploration and production activities over the coming decades. A nested survey approach can be used to identify representative sampling sites within this vast offshore area. Potential sites where chemosynthetic community could occur are selected on the basis geophysical, geochemical, and satellite remote-sensing indicators. Photo-reconnaissance using cost-effective camera systems is then used to confirm the presences or absence of chemosynthetic communities at high-probability sites. Follow-up sampling can then proceed with submersibles or ROVs to acquire tissue and or geochemical samples. However, because access is limited, submersible dives may not be possible at all sites. Two examples of this approach have recently been applied in the northern and southern Gulf of Mexico, respectively. We compared community characterizations obtained from the initial reconnaissance with more detailed characterizations forthcoming from submersible sampling. Our results show that major differences in community type and geochemical substrata are evident from preliminary reconnaissance, while details of animal densities and species compositions require targeted sampling with submersibles. However, given the limited access to submersibles, cost-effective surveys with deep-sea camera systems would greatly expand understanding of the zoogeography of chemosynthetic fauna in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

  12. On the relationship between methane production and oxidation by anaerobic methanotrophic communities from cold seeps of the Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Orcutt, Beth; Samarkin, Vladimir; Boetius, Antje; Joye, Samantha

    2008-05-01

    The anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) in the marine subsurface is a significant sink for methane in the environment, yet our understanding of its regulation and dynamics is still incomplete. Relatively few groups of microorganisms consume methane in subsurface environments--namely the anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME clades 1, 2 and 3), which are phylogenetically related to methanogenic archaea. Anaerobic oxidation of methane presumably proceeds via a 'reversed' methanogenic pathway. The ANME are generally associated with sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) and sulfate is the only documented final electron acceptor for AOM in marine sediments. Our comparative study explored the coupling of AOM with sulfate reduction (SR) and methane generation (MOG) in microbial communities from Gulf of Mexico cold seep sediments that were naturally enriched with methane and other hydrocarbons. These sediments harbour a variety of ANME clades and SRB. Following enrichment under an atmosphere of methane, AOM fuelled 50-100% of SR, even in sediment slurries containing petroleum-associated hydrocarbons and organic matter. In the presence of methane and sulfate, the investigated microbial communities produce methane at a small fraction ( approximately 10%) of the AOM rate. Anaerobic oxidation of methane, MOG and SR rates decreased significantly with decreasing concentration of methane, and in the presence of the SR inhibitor molybdate, but reacted differently to the MOG inhibitor 2-bromoethanesulfonate (BES). The addition of acetate, a possible breakdown product of petroleum in situ and a potential intermediate in AOM/SR syntrophy, did not suppress AOM activity; rather acetate stimulated microbial activity in oily sediment slurries.

  13. Bedded Barite Deposits from Sonora (nw Mexico): a Paleozoic Analog for Modern Cold Seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Canet, C.; Anadón, P.; González-Partida, E.; Alfonso, P.; Rajabi, A.; Pérez-Segura, E.; Alba-Aldave, L. A.

    2013-05-01

    The Mazatán barite deposits represent an outstanding example of Paleozoic bedded barite, a poorly understood type of mineral deposit of major economic interest. The largest barite bodies of Mazatán are hosted within an Upper Carboniferous flysch succession, which formed part of an accretionary wedge related to the subduction of the Rheic Ocean beneath Gondwana. As well, a few barite occurrences are hosted in Upper Devonian, pre-orogenic turbidites. A variety of mineralized structures is displayed by barite, including: septaria nodules, enterolitic structures, rosettes and debris-flow conglomerates. Barite is accompanied by chalcedony, pyrite (framboids) and berthierine. Gas-rich fluid inclusions in barite were analyzed by Raman spectroscopy and methane was identified, suggesting the occurrence of light hydrocarbons in the environment within which barite precipitated. 13C-depleted carbonates (δ13C: -24.3 to -18.8‰) were found in the barite deposits; they formed through anaerobic oxidation of methane coupled to sulfate reduction, and yield negative δ18O values (-11.9 to -5.2‰) reflecting the isotopic composition of Devonian-Carboniferous seawater. Methane-derived carbonates occur in modern hydrocarbon seeps and have been reported from Mesozoic and Cenozoic seep sediments, but they have never before been described in Paleozoic bedded barite deposits. δ34S of barite varies from +17.6 to +64.1‰, with the lowest values overlapping the range for coeval seawater sulfate; this distribution indicates a process of sulfate reduction. Barite precipitation can be explained by mixing of methane- and barium-rich fluids with pore-water (seawater) containing sulfate residual from microbial reduction. Two analyses from barite gave an 87Sr/86Sr within and slightly above the range for seawater at the time of deposition, with 0.708130 and 0.708588, which would preclude the involvement of hydrothermal fluids in the mineralization process.

  14. New gastropods from deep-sea hydrocarbon seeps off West Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Warén, Anders; Bouchet, Philippe

    2009-12-01

    Thirteen new species of gastropods are described from the Zairov 1-2 and Biozaire 1-3 cruises to the methane seeps off the Congo River: Patellogastropoda: Paralepetopsis sasakii sp. nov. (Neolepetopsidae); Cocculiniformia: Pyropelta oluae sp. nov. and P. sibuetae sp. nov. (Pyropeltidae); Tentaoculus granulatus sp. nov. (Pseudococculinidae); Neomphalina: Leptogyra costellata sp. nov. (Family uncertain); Vetigastropoda: Puncturella similis sp. nov. (Fissurellidae); Lepetodrilus shannonae sp. nov. (Lepetodrilidae); Caenogastropoda: Provanna reticulata sp. nov. and P. chevalieri sp. nov., Cordesia provannoides gen. et sp. nov. (Provannidae); Phymorhynchus coseli sp. nov. and P. cingulata sp. nov. (Conidae); Heterobranchia: Hyalogyrina rissoella sp. nov. (Hyalogyrinidae). All species except T. granulatus (from a settlement trap) belong to groups known from cold seeps and the entire seep fauna here is new to science. Biogeographical affinity of this gastropod fauna is to the West Atlantic seeps, not to the Mediterranean seeps or Mid-Atlantic vents. Fragments of the autecology of the species are presented. The evolution of the seep gastropod fauna is briefly discussed and a continuous immigration of taxa is supported. The oldest verified occurrences of modern taxa in the seeps date back to Cenomanian (Cretaceous) time, while some taxa seem not to appear until very late Tertiary.

  15. Quantification of gas bubble emissions from submarine hydrocarbon seeps at the Makran continental margin (offshore Pakistan)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    RöMer, Miriam; Sahling, Heiko; Pape, Thomas; Bohrmann, Gerhard; Spieß, Volkhard

    2012-10-01

    Evidence for twelve sites with gas bubble emissions causing hydroacoustic anomalies in 18 kHz echosounder records (`flares') was obtained at the convergent Makran continental margin. The hydroacoustic anomalies originating from hydrocarbon seeps at water depths between 575 and 2870 m disappeared after rising up to 2000 m in the water column. Dives with the remotely operated vehicle `Quest 4000 m' revealed that several individual bubble vents contributed to one hydroacoustic anomaly. Analyzed gas samples suggest that bubbles were mainly composed of methane of microbial origin. Bubble size distributions and rise velocities were determined and the volume flux was estimated by counting the emitted bubbles and using their average volume. We found that a low volume flux (Flare 1 at 575 mbsl: 90 ml/min) caused a weak hydroacoustic signal in echograms whereas high volume fluxes (Flare 2 at 1027 mbsl: 1590 ml/min; Flare 5 C at 2870 mbsl: 760 ml/min) caused strong anomalies. The total methane bubble flux in the study area was estimated by multiplying the average methane flux causing a strong hydroacoustic anomaly in the echosounder record with the total number of equivalent anomalies. An order-of-magnitude estimate further considers the temporal variability of some of the flares, assuming a constant flux over time, and allows a large range of uncertainty inherent to the method. Our results on the fate of bubbles and the order-of-magnitude estimate suggest that all of the ˜40 ± 32 × 106 mol methane emitted per year within the gas hydrate stability zone remain in the deep ocean.

  16. Microbial sulfate reduction rates and sulfur and oxygen isotope fractionations at oil and gas seeps in deepwater Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aharon, Paul; Fu, Baoshun

    2000-01-01

    Sulfate reduction and anaerobic methane oxidation are the dominant microbial processes occurring in hydrate-bearing sediments at bathyal depths in the Gulf of Mexico where crude oil and methane are advecting through fault conduits to the seafloor. The oil and gas seeps are typically overlain by chemosynthetic communities consisting of thiotrophic bacterial mats (Beggiatoa spp.) and methanotrophic mussels (Bathymodiolus spp.), respectively. Cores were recovered with a manned submersible from fine-grained sediments containing dispersed gas hydrates at the threshold of stability. Estimated sulfate reduction rates are variable but generally are substantially higher in crude oil seeps (up to 50 times) and methane seeps (up to 600 times) relative to a non-seep reference sediment (0.0043 μmol SO 42- cm -3 day -1). Sulfur and oxygen isotope fractionation factors are highest in the reference sediment (α S = 1.027; α O = 1.015) but substantially lower in the seep sediments (α S = 1.018 to 1.009; α O = 1.006 to 1.002) and are controlled primarily by kinetic factors related to sulfate reduction rates. Kinetic effects also control the δ 34S/δ 18O ratios such that slow microbial rates yield low ratios whereas faster rates yield progressively higher ratios. The seep data contradict previous claims that δ 34S/δ 18O ratios are diagnostic of either microbial sulfate reduction at a fixed δ 34S/δ 18O ratio of 4/1 or lower ratios caused by SO 4-H 2O equilibration at ambient temperatures. The new results offer a better understanding of methane removal via anaerobic oxidation in the sulfate reduction zone of hydrate-bearing sediments and have significant implications regarding the origin and geochemical history of sedimentary sulfate reconstructed on the basis of δ 34S and δ 18O compositions.

  17. Combined carbonate carbon isotopic and cellular ultrastructural studies of individual benthic foraminifera: 2. Toward an understanding of apparent disequilibrium in hydrocarbon seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bernhard, Joan M.; Martin, Jonathan B.; Rathburn, Anthony E.

    2010-10-01

    Numerous previous studies show disequilibrium between stable carbon isotope ratios of foraminiferal calcite and pore water dissolved inorganic carbon in hydrocarbon seeps, calling into question the utility of this widely used paleoceanographic tracer as a proxy. We use a recently developed method to compare stable carbon isotope ratios of foraminiferal carbonate with cell ultrastructural observations from individual benthic foraminifera from seep (under chemosynthetic bivalves) and nonseep habitats in Monterey Bay, California, to better understand control(s) of benthic foraminiferal carbon isotope ratios. Two attributes previously proposed to cause the isotopic offsets are diet and symbionts. Ultrastructural analysis shows that positive staining with Rose Bengal indicates presence of foraminiferal cytoplasm, bacterial biomass, or a combination of both and, thus, is not an unequivocal indicator of viability. We also show for the first time that some living seep foraminifera have endobionts. Results from our unique, yet limited, data set are consistent with suggestions that, in our sites, several foraminiferal species collected from seep clam beds may not survive there, diet and symbiont presence do not appear to be major contributors to disequilibrium, little calcification of seep-tolerant foraminiferal species occurs while seep conditions prevail, and microscale variability in habitats could influence δ13C of benthic foraminiferal carbonate. Results further suggest that our knowledge of benthic foraminiferal ecology and biomineralization, especially in extreme habitats such as seeps, must be bolstered before we fully understand the fidelity of paleoenvironmental records derived from benthic foraminiferal test δ13C data.

  18. Marine microbes rapidly adapt to consume ethane, propane, and butane within the dissolved hydrocarbon plume of a natural seep

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mendes, Stephanie D.; Redmond, Molly C.; Voigritter, Karl; Perez, Christian; Scarlett, Rachel; Valentine, David L.

    2015-03-01

    Simple hydrocarbon gases containing two to four carbons (ethane, propane, and butane) are among the most abundant compounds present in petroleum reservoirs, and are introduced into the ocean through natural seepage and industrial discharge. Yet little is known about the bacterial consumption of these compounds in ocean waters. To assess the timing by which microbes metabolize these gases, we conducted a three-phase study that tested and applied a radiotracer-based method to quantify the oxidation rates of ethane, propane, and butane in fresh seawater samples. Phase 1 involved the synthesis of tritiated ethane, propane, and butane using Grignard reagents and tritiated water. Phase 2 was a systematic assessment of experimental conditions, wherein the indigenous microbial community was found to rapidly oxidize ethane, propane, and butane. Phase 3 was the application of this tritium method near the Coal Oil Point seeps, offshore California. Spatial and temporal patterns of ethane, propane, and butane oxidation down current from the hydrocarbon seeps demonstrated that >99% of these gases are metabolized within 1.3 days following initial exposure. The oxidation of ethane outpaced oxidation of propane and butane with patterns indicating the microbial community responded to these gases by rapid adaptation or growth. Methane oxidation responded the slowest in plume waters. Estimates based on the observed metabolic rates and carbon mass balance suggest that ethane, propane, and butane-consuming microorganisms may transiently account for a majority of the total microbial community in these impacted waters.

  19. Methane-Oxidizing Bacteria Shunt Carbon to Microbial Mats at a Marine Hydrocarbon Seep

    DOE PAGES

    Paul, Blair G.; Ding, Haibing; Bagby, Sarah C.; ...

    2017-02-27

    The marine subsurface is a reservoir of the greenhouse gas methane. While microorganisms living in water column and seafloor ecosystems are known to be a major sink limiting net methane transport from the marine subsurface to the atmosphere, few studies have assessed the flow of methane-derived carbon through the benthic mat communities that line the seafloor on the continental shelf where methane is emitted. We analyzed the abundance and isotope composition of fatty acids in microbial mats grown in the shallow Coal Oil Point seep field off Santa Barbara, CA, USA, where seep gas is a mixture of methane andmore » CO2. We further used stable isotope probing (SIP) to track methane incorporation into mat biomass. We found evidence that multiple allochthonous substrates supported the rich growth of these mats, with notable contributions from bacterial methanotrophs and sulfur-oxidizers as well as eukaryotic phototrophs. Fatty acids characteristic of methanotrophs were shown to be abundant and 13C-enriched in SIP samples, and DNA-SIP identified members of the methanotrophic family Methylococcaceae as major 13CH4 consumers. Members of Sulfuricurvaceae, Sulfurospirillaceae, and Sulfurovumaceae are implicated in fixation of seep CO2. The mats’ autotrophs support a diverse assemblage of co-occurring bacteria and protozoa, with Methylophaga as key consumers of methane-derived organic matter. This study identifies the taxa contributing to the flow of seep-derived carbon through microbial mat biomass, revealing the bacterial and eukaryotic diversity of these remarkable ecosystems.« less

  20. Methane-Oxidizing Bacteria Shunt Carbon to Microbial Mats at a Marine Hydrocarbon Seep

    PubMed Central

    Paul, Blair G.; Ding, Haibing; Bagby, Sarah C.; Kellermann, Matthias Y.; Redmond, Molly C.; Andersen, Gary L.; Valentine, David L.

    2017-01-01

    The marine subsurface is a reservoir of the greenhouse gas methane. While microorganisms living in water column and seafloor ecosystems are known to be a major sink limiting net methane transport from the marine subsurface to the atmosphere, few studies have assessed the flow of methane-derived carbon through the benthic mat communities that line the seafloor on the continental shelf where methane is emitted. We analyzed the abundance and isotope composition of fatty acids in microbial mats grown in the shallow Coal Oil Point seep field off Santa Barbara, CA, USA, where seep gas is a mixture of methane and CO2. We further used stable isotope probing (SIP) to track methane incorporation into mat biomass. We found evidence that multiple allochthonous substrates supported the rich growth of these mats, with notable contributions from bacterial methanotrophs and sulfur-oxidizers as well as eukaryotic phototrophs. Fatty acids characteristic of methanotrophs were shown to be abundant and 13C-enriched in SIP samples, and DNA-SIP identified members of the methanotrophic family Methylococcaceae as major 13CH4 consumers. Members of Sulfuricurvaceae, Sulfurospirillaceae, and Sulfurovumaceae are implicated in fixation of seep CO2. The mats’ autotrophs support a diverse assemblage of co-occurring bacteria and protozoa, with Methylophaga as key consumers of methane-derived organic matter. This study identifies the taxa contributing to the flow of seep-derived carbon through microbial mat biomass, revealing the bacterial and eukaryotic diversity of these remarkable ecosystems. PMID:28289403

  1. Methane Seeps in the Gulf of Mexico: repeat acoustic surveying shows highly temporally and spatially variable venting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beaumont, B. C.; Raineault, N.

    2016-02-01

    Scientists have recognized that natural seeps account for a large amount of methane emissions. Despite their widespread occurrence in areas like the Gulf of Mexico, little is known about the temporal variability and site-scale spatial variability of venting over time. We used repeat acoustic surveys to compare multiple days of seep activity and determine the changes in the locus of methane emission and plume height. The Sleeping Dragon site was surveyed with an EM302 multibeam sonar on three consecutive days in 2014 and 4 days within one week in 2015. The data revealed three distinctive plume regions. The locus of venting varied by 10-60 meters at each site. The plume that exhibited the least spatial variability in venting, was also the most temporally variable. This seep was present in one-third of survey dates in 2014 and three quarters of survey dates in 2015, showing high day-to-day variability. The plume height was very consistent for this plume, whereas the other plumes were more consistent temporally, but varied in maximum plume height detection by 25-85 m. The single locus of emission at the site that had high day-to-day variability may be due to a single conduit for methane release, which is sometimes closed off by carbonate or clathrate hydrate formation. In addition to day-to-day temporal variability, the locus of emission at one site was observed to shift from a point-source in 2014 to a diffuse source in 2015 at a nearby location. ROV observations showed that one of the seep sites that closed off temporarily, experienced an explosive breakthrough of gas, releasing confined methane and blowing out rock. The mechanism that causes on/off behavior of certain plumes, combined with the spatial variability of the locus of methane release shown in this study may point to carbonate or hydrate formation in the seep plumbing system and should be further investigated.

  2. Coastal pollution hazards in southern California observed by SAR imagery: stormwater plumes, wastewater plumes, and natural hydrocarbon seeps

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Digiacomo, Paul M.; Washburn, Libe; Holt, Benjamin; Jones, Burton H.

    2004-01-01

    Stormwater runoff plumes, municipal wastewater plumes, and natural hydrocarbon seeps are important pollution hazards for the heavily populated Southern California Bight (SCB). Due to their small size, dynamic and episodic nature, these hazards are difficult to sample adequately using traditional in situ oceanographic methods. Complex coastal circulation and persistent cloud cover can further complicate detection and monitoring of these hazards. We use imagery from space-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR), complemented by field measurements, to examine these hazards in the SCB. The hazards are detectable in SAR imagery because they deposit surfactants on the sea surface, smoothing capillary and small gravity waves to produce areas of reduced backscatter compared with the surrounding ocean. We suggest that high-resolution SAR, which obtains useful data regardless of darkness or cloud cover, could be an important observational tool for assessment and monitoring of coastal marine pollution hazards in the SCB and other urbanized coastal regions.

  3. Coastal pollution hazards in southern California observed by SAR imagery: stormwater plumes, wastewater plumes, and natural hydrocarbon seeps.

    PubMed

    Digiacomo, Paul M; Washburn, Libe; Holt, Benjamin; Jones, Burton H

    2004-12-01

    Stormwater runoff plumes, municipal wastewater plumes, and natural hydrocarbon seeps are important pollution hazards for the heavily populated Southern California Bight (SCB). Due to their small size, dynamic and episodic nature, these hazards are difficult to sample adequately using traditional in situ oceanographic methods. Complex coastal circulation and persistent cloud cover can further complicate detection and monitoring of these hazards. We use imagery from space-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR), complemented by field measurements, to examine these hazards in the SCB. The hazards are detectable in SAR imagery because they deposit surfactants on the sea surface, smoothing capillary and small gravity waves to produce areas of reduced backscatter compared with the surrounding ocean. We suggest that high-resolution SAR, which obtains useful data regardless of darkness or cloud cover, could be an important observational tool for assessment and monitoring of coastal marine pollution hazards in the SCB and other urbanized coastal regions.

  4. Novel alkane hydroxylase gene (alkB) diversity in sediments associated with hydrocarbon seeps in the Timor Sea, Australia.

    PubMed

    Wasmund, Kenneth; Burns, Kathryn A; Kurtböke, D Ipek; Bourne, David G

    2009-12-01

    Hydrocarbon seeps provide inputs of petroleum hydrocarbons to widespread areas of the Timor Sea. Alkanes constitute the largest proportion of chemical components found in crude oils, and therefore genes involved in the biodegradation of these compounds may act as bioindicators for this ecosystem's response to seepage. To assess alkane biodegradation potential, the diversity and distribution of alkane hydroxylase (alkB) genes in sediments of the Timor Sea were studied. Deduced AlkB protein sequences derived from clone libraries identified sequences only distantly related to previously identified AlkB sequences, suggesting that the Timor Sea maybe a rich reservoir for novel alkane hydroxylase enzymes. Most sequences clustered with AlkB sequences previously identified from marine Gammaproteobacteria though protein sequence identities averaged only 73% (with a range of 60% to 94% sequence identities). AlkB sequence diversity was lower in deep water (>400 m) samples off the continental slope than in shallow water (<100 m) samples on the continental shelf but not significantly different in response to levels of alkanes. Real-time PCR assays targeting Timor Sea alkB genes were designed and used to quantify alkB gene targets. No correlation was found between gene copy numbers and levels of hydrocarbons measured in sediments using sensitive gas chromatography-mass spectrometry techniques, probably due to the very low levels of hydrocarbons found in most sediment samples. Interestingly, however, copy numbers of alkB genes increased substantially in sediments exposed directly to active seepage even though only low or undetectable concentrations of hydrocarbons were measured in these sediments in complementary geochemical analyses due to efficient biodegradation.

  5. Association of oil seeps and chemosynthetic communities with oil discoveries, upper continental slope, Gulf of Mexico

    SciTech Connect

    Sassen, R.; Brooks, J.M.; MacDonald, I.R.; Kennicutt, M.C. II; Guinasso, N.L. Jr. )

    1993-09-01

    A belt of sea-floor oil seeps and chemosynthetic communities has been mapped across the upper continental slope, offshore Louisiana, at depths ranging from 2000 to 1000 m. Visibly oil-stained sediments and thelmogenic gas hydrates have been recovered using piston cores and research submarines. Biomarker fingerprinting of seep oils suggests an origin from deeply buried Cretaceous or Jurassic source rocks characterized by marine kerogen. The abundance of seeps provides a unique opportunity to define their relationship to oil discoveries including Auger, Cooper, Jolliet, Marquette, Vancouver, Popeye, and Mars. Seeps are preferentially distributed over shallow salt ridges that rim intrasalt basin cooking pots, over salt diapirs, and along shallow fault traces near discoveries. Diagnostic seep-related features on the sea floor include gas hydrate mounds and outcrops, pockmarks and craters, mud volcanoes, and carbonate buildups. Many of the 50 chemosynthetic communities including tube worms, mussels, or clams thus far documented in the gulf occur near discoveries. Recent imagery from orbital platforms, including the space shuttle, shows that natural oil slicks are common on the sea surface in this area. Additional mapping of seep distributions should contribute to better defining of the limits of the deep Gulf play fairway.

  6. Diversity and functional analysis of bacterial communities associated with natural hydrocarbon seeps in acidic soils at Rainbow Springs, Yellowstone National Park.

    PubMed

    Hamamura, Natsuko; Olson, Sarah H; Ward, David M; Inskeep, William P

    2005-10-01

    In this paper we describe the bacterial communities associated with natural hydrocarbon seeps in nonthermal soils at Rainbow Springs, Yellowstone National Park. Soil chemical analysis revealed high sulfate concentrations and low pH values (pH 2.8 to 3.8), which are characteristic of acid-sulfate geothermal activity. The hydrocarbon composition of the seep soils consisted almost entirely of saturated, acyclic alkanes (e.g., n-alkanes with chain lengths of C15 to C30, as well as branched alkanes, predominately pristane and phytane). Bacterial populations present in the seep soils were phylogenetically characterized by 16S rRNA gene clone library analysis. The majority of the sequences recovered (>75%) were related to sequences of heterotrophic acidophilic bacteria, including Acidisphaera spp. and Acidiphilium spp. of the alpha-Proteobacteria. Clones related to the iron- and sulfur-oxidizing chemolithotroph Acidithiobacillus spp. were also recovered from one of the seep soils. Hydrocarbon-amended soil-sand mixtures were established to examine [14C]hexadecane mineralization and corresponding changes in the bacterial populations using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of 16S rRNA gene fragments. Approximately 50% of the [14C]hexadecane added was recovered as 14CO2 during an 80-day incubation, and this was accompanied by detection of heterotrophic acidophile-related sequences as dominant DGGE bands. An alkane-degrading isolate was cultivated, whose 16S rRNA gene sequence was identical to the sequence of a dominant DGGE band in the soil-sand mixture, as well as the clone sequence recovered most frequently from the original soil. This and the presence of an alkB gene homolog in this isolate confirmed the alkane degradation capability of one population indigenous to acidic hydrocarbon seep soils.

  7. Diversity and Functional Analysis of Bacterial Communities Associated with Natural Hydrocarbon Seeps in Acidic Soils at Rainbow Springs, Yellowstone National Park

    PubMed Central

    Hamamura, Natsuko; Olson, Sarah H.; Ward, David M.; Inskeep, William P.

    2005-01-01

    In this paper we describe the bacterial communities associated with natural hydrocarbon seeps in nonthermal soils at Rainbow Springs, Yellowstone National Park. Soil chemical analysis revealed high sulfate concentrations and low pH values (pH 2.8 to 3.8), which are characteristic of acid-sulfate geothermal activity. The hydrocarbon composition of the seep soils consisted almost entirely of saturated, acyclic alkanes (e.g., n-alkanes with chain lengths of C15 to C30, as well as branched alkanes, predominately pristane and phytane). Bacterial populations present in the seep soils were phylogenetically characterized by 16S rRNA gene clone library analysis. The majority of the sequences recovered (>75%) were related to sequences of heterotrophic acidophilic bacteria, including Acidisphaera spp. and Acidiphilium spp. of the α-Proteobacteria. Clones related to the iron- and sulfur-oxidizing chemolithotroph Acidithiobacillus spp. were also recovered from one of the seep soils. Hydrocarbon-amended soil-sand mixtures were established to examine [14C]hexadecane mineralization and corresponding changes in the bacterial populations using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of 16S rRNA gene fragments. Approximately 50% of the [14C]hexadecane added was recovered as 14CO2 during an 80-day incubation, and this was accompanied by detection of heterotrophic acidophile-related sequences as dominant DGGE bands. An alkane-degrading isolate was cultivated, whose 16S rRNA gene sequence was identical to the sequence of a dominant DGGE band in the soil-sand mixture, as well as the clone sequence recovered most frequently from the original soil. This and the presence of an alkB gene homolog in this isolate confirmed the alkane degradation capability of one population indigenous to acidic hydrocarbon seep soils. PMID:16204508

  8. Using Stable Isotope Compositions of Animal Tissues to Infer Trophic Interactions in Gulf of Mexico Lower Slope Seep Communities

    PubMed Central

    Becker, Erin L.; Cordes, Erik E.; Macko, Stephen A.; Lee, Raymond W.; Fisher, Charles R.

    2013-01-01

    We analyzed the tissue carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur stable isotope contents of macrofaunal communities associated with vestimentiferan tubeworms and bathymodiolin mussels from the Gulf of Mexico lower continental slope (970-2800 m). Shrimp in the genus Alvinocaris associated with vestimentiferans from shallow (530 m) and deep (1400-2800 m) sites were used to test the hypothesis that seep animals derive a greater proportion of their nutrition from seeps (i.e. a lower proportion from the surface) at greater depths. To account for spatial variability in the inorganic source pool, we used the differences between the mean tissue δ13C and δ15N of the shrimp in each collection and the mean δ 13C and δ15N values of the vestimentiferans from the same collection, since vestimentiferans are functionally autotrophic and serve as a baseline for environmental isotopic variation. There was a significant negative relationship between this difference and depth for both δ13C and δ15N (p=0.02 and 0.007, respectively), which supports the hypothesis of higher dependence on seep nutrition with depth. The small polychaete worm Protomystides sp. was hypothesized to be a blood parasite of the vestimentiferan Escarpialaminata. There was a highly significant linear relationship between the δ13C values of Protomystides sp. and the E. laminata individuals to which they were attached across all collections (p < 0.001) and within a single collection (p = 0.01), although this relationship was not significant for δ15N and δ34S. We made several other qualitative inferences with respect to the feeding biology of the taxa occurring in these lower slope seeps, some of which have not been described prior to this study. PMID:24324572

  9. Methane Fluxes to the Atmosphere from Perennial Hydrocarbon Plumes in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solomon, E.; Kastner, M.; MacDonald, I.

    2006-12-01

    Methane is a radiatively important trace gas in the atmosphere playing a significant role in greenhouse warming and ozone destruction. The current atmospheric methane budget, however, is still clouded by large uncertainties in the individual source strengths. Estimates of the flux of methane from the ocean to the atmosphere range from 5-15 Tg/yr, but do not include seafloor methane seepage. The large uncertainty in the magnitude of this flux emphasizes the importance of better constraining the spatial and temporal variations in marine methane emissions. Improved constraints on the natural input of methane from the oceans will enable better estimates of changes in anthropogenic inputs over time and their contribution to global climate change. The northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) contains prolific seafloor gas vents, oil seeps, and gas hydrate deposits. During two research expeditions in the GOM in 2002 and 2003, methane concentrations and carbon isotopic ratios were measured within the water column by a novel experiment in which bubble plumes from 5 seafloor seeps and one mud volcano were sampled with an ascending submersible from the seafloor to the sea surface. Traditionally, CTD casts have been used to sample methane in the water column, which, because of currents, at best only meander through these relatively narrow plumes. Based on δ13C-DIC values of pore waters extracted from push cores at the seeps, methane is not consumed by anaerobic oxidation in the sediment column, thus all of the methane advecting from depth enters the water column. The δ13C of the bottom water methane ranges from -54.38 to -45.91‰, indicating most of it is thermogenic in origin. The gas bubbles also contain C2-C4 hydrocarbons and are coated with oil, which inhibits methane oxidation and bubble dissolution during ascent. This is observed in the only slight increase in δ13C- CH4 to the surface within the plumes. Surface waters have an average δ13C-CH4 of - 47.00‰, thus using an

  10. Quantification of methane fluxes from hydrocarbon seeps to the ocean and atmosphere: Development of an in situ and online gas flux measuring system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Di, Pengfei; Chen, Qinghua; Chen, Duofu

    2017-06-01

    Natural hydrocarbon seeps in the marine environment are important contributors to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Such gases include methane, which plays a significant role in global carbon cycling and climate change. To accurately quantify the methane flux from hydrocarbon seeps on the seafloor, a specialized in situ and online gas flux measuring (GFM) device was designed to obtain high-resolution time course gas fluxes using the process of equal volume exchange. The device consists of a 1.0-m diameter, 0.9-m tall, inverted conical tent and a GFM instrument that contains a solenoid valve, level transducer, and gas collection chamber. Rising gas bubbles from seeps were measured by laboratory-calibrated GFM instruments attached to the top of the tent. According to the experimental data, the optimal anti-shake time interval was 5 s. The measurement range of the device was 0-15 L min-1, and the relative error was ± 1.0%. The device was initially deployed at an active seep site in the Lingtou Promontory seep field in South China Sea. The amount of gas released from a single gas vent was 30.5 m3 during the measurement period, and the gas flow rate ranged from 22 to 72 L h-1, depending on tidal period, and was strongly negatively correlated with water depth. The measurement results strongly suggest that oceanic tides and swells had a significant forcing effect on gas flux. Low flow rates were associated with high tides and vice versa. The changes in gas volume escaping from the seafloor seeps could be attributed to the hydrostatic pressure induced by water depth. Our findings suggest that in the marine environment, especially in the shallow shelf area, sea level variation may play an important role in controlling methane release into the ocean. Such releases probably also affect atmospheric methane levels.

  11. Tracing the composition and origin of fluids at an ancient hydrocarbon seep (Hollard Mound, Middle Devonian, Morocco): A Nd, REE and stable isotope study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jakubowicz, M.; Dopieralska, J.; Belka, Z.

    2015-05-01

    For the first time, Nd isotope signatures combined with rare earth element (REE) concentrations were used in investigations of ancient seep carbonates. The study was performed on the fossil hydrocarbon seep deposit of the Middle Devonian Hollard Mound (eastern Anti-Atlas, Morocco), where Nd isotopes, REE concentrations, and carbon and oxygen isotope ratios were measured to investigate the origin, former migration pathways and composition of fluids. Relatively high εNd values compared to local Eifelian seawater, as well as consistently appearing positive Eu anomalies in MREE-enriched shale-normalized REE patterns of the seep carbonates provided evidence for interaction between the seeping fluids and the Lower Devonian basaltic volcaniclastics underlying the studied seep deposit. Strongly reducing conditions and increased temperature of methane formation could have constituted an additional factor in the Eu-enrichment of the investigated carbonate phases. The presence of exclusively negative Ce anomalies in these carbonates is in line with observations of other workers that seep limestones may not necessarily display positive Ce anomalies indicative of precipitation under anoxic conditions. The negative Ce anomalies are attributed here to mixing between anoxic pore waters and oxic, Ce-depleted seawater, necessary to enable carbonate precipitation at seeps. The methane-rich fluids ascended most likely from below the volcaniclastic unit and inherited the enriched εNd signatures and positive Eu anomalies due to fluid-rock interactions during their seepage to the seafloor. The carbon isotope data are most consistent with thermogenic origin of methane, although contribution of abiotic and biogenic methane sources cannot be excluded. Our results indicate that neodymium isotope and rare earth element analyses constitute one of the most valuable tools for reconstructing former fluid migration patterns. The study shows also that Nd isotopes and Eu anomalies can serve as

  12. Natural hydrocarbon seeps observation with underwater gliders and UV fluorescence sensor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rochet, V.

    2016-02-01

    Hydrocarbons may leak to the near-surface from subsurface accumulations, from mature source rock, or by buoyancy along major cross-strata routes. The presence of migrating near-surface hydrocarbons can provide strong evidence for the presence of a working petroleum system, as well as valuable information on source, maturity, and migration pathways. Detection and characterization of hydrocarbons in the water column may then help to de-risk hydrocarbon plays at a very preliminary stage of an exploration program. In order to detect hydrocarbons in the water column, an underwater glider survey was conducted in an offshore frontier area. Driven by buoyancy variation, underwater gliders enable collecting data autonomously along the water column for weeks to months. Underwater gliders are regularly piloted from shore by satellite telemetry and do not require a surface supervising vessel resulting in substantial operational costs savings. The data compiled, over 700m depth of the water column, included temperature, salinity, pressure, dissolved oxygen and hydrocarbon components (phenanthrene and naphthalene) measured by "MINIFLUO" sensors to particularly target representative crude oil compounds Two gliders were deployed at sea, one from coast in shallow water and the other one offshore on the survey area. Both accurately squared the survey area following pre-defined lines and cross lines. Data files were transmitted by satellite telemetry in near real time during the performance of the mission for real time observations and appropriate re-positioning of the gliders. Using rechargeable underwater gliders increased reliability reducing the risk of leakage and associated logistics during operation at sea. Despite strong evidences of seabed seepages such as pockmarks, faults, etc, over the area of interest, no hydrocarbon indices were detected in the water column, which was confirmed later by seabed sample analysis. The use of glider platforms for hydrocarbon detection has

  13. Hydrocarbon flux from natural deepwater Gulf of Mexico vents

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Andrew J.; Flemings, Peter B.; Fulton, Patrick M.

    2014-06-01

    High salinities and high temperatures at the seafloor record the upward flow of water and hydrocarbons from depth at natural vents in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. We present a multiphase heat- and solute-transport model, in which water supplied from depth transports heat and salt, and hydrocarbon transports heat. We show that there is a unique water and hydrocarbon flux that simulates the observed salinity and temperature. We estimate the hydrocarbon flux to be 3.2-15×104 t yr and 1.8-8.0×104 t yr from two vents at lease blocks MC852/853 and GB425. These fluxes are 1-4 orders of magnitude greater than previous estimates from individual deepwater vents. If these results are extrapolated to the entire Gulf of Mexico, then we estimate the regional hydrocarbon flux to be at least 100× greater than previous estimates and 14-120% of the hydrocarbon flux from the Macondo oil spill. Large natural seepage may inoculate marine basins such as the Gulf of Mexico from oil spills like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout by sustaining populations of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria.

  14. Identification of members of the metabolically active microbial populations associated with Beggiatoa species mat communities from Gulf of Mexico cold-seep sediments.

    PubMed

    Mills, Heath J; Martinez, Robert J; Story, Sandra; Sobecky, Patricia A

    2004-09-01

    In this study, the composition of the metabolically active fraction of the microbial community occurring in Gulf of Mexico marine sediments (water depth, 550 to 575 m) with overlying filamentous bacterial mats was determined. The mats were mainly composed of either orange- or white-pigmented Beggiatoa spp. Complementary 16S ribosomal DNA (crDNA) was obtained from rRNA extracted from three different sediment depths (0 to 2, 6 to 8, and 10 to 12 cm) that had been subjected to reverse transcription-PCR amplification. Domain-specific 16S PCR primers were used to construct 12 different 16S crDNA libraries containing 333 Archaea and 329 Bacteria clones. Analysis of the Archaea clones indicated that all sediment depths associated with overlying orange- and white-pigmented microbial mats were almost exclusively dominated by ANME-2 (95% of total Archaea clones), a lineage related to the methanogenic order Methanosarcinales. In contrast, bacterial diversity was considerably higher, with the dominant phylotype varying by sediment depth. An equivalent number of clones detected at 0 to 2 cm, representing a total of 93%, were related to the gamma and delta classes of Proteobacteria, whereas clones related to delta-Proteobacteria dominated the metabolically active fraction of the bacterial community occurring at 6 to 8 cm (79%) and 10 to 12 cm (85%). This is the first phylogenetics-based evaluation of the presumptive metabolically active fraction of the Bacteria and Archaea community structure investigated along a sediment depth profile in the northern Gulf of Mexico, a hydrocarbon-rich cold-seep region.

  15. Identification of Members of the Metabolically Active Microbial Populations Associated with Beggiatoa Species Mat Communities from Gulf of Mexico Cold-Seep Sediments

    PubMed Central

    Mills, Heath J.; Martinez, Robert J.; Story, Sandra; Sobecky, Patricia A.

    2004-01-01

    In this study, the composition of the metabolically active fraction of the microbial community occurring in Gulf of Mexico marine sediments (water depth, 550 to 575 m) with overlying filamentous bacterial mats was determined. The mats were mainly composed of either orange- or white-pigmented Beggiatoa spp. Complementary 16S ribosomal DNA (crDNA) was obtained from rRNA extracted from three different sediment depths (0 to 2, 6 to 8, and 10 to 12 cm) that had been subjected to reverse transcription-PCR amplification. Domain-specific 16S PCR primers were used to construct 12 different 16S crDNA libraries containing 333 Archaea and 329 Bacteria clones. Analysis of the Archaea clones indicated that all sediment depths associated with overlying orange- and white-pigmented microbial mats were almost exclusively dominated by ANME-2 (95% of total Archaea clones), a lineage related to the methanogenic order Methanosarcinales. In contrast, bacterial diversity was considerably higher, with the dominant phylotype varying by sediment depth. An equivalent number of clones detected at 0 to 2 cm, representing a total of 93%, were related to the γ and δ classes of Proteobacteria, whereas clones related to δ-Proteobacteria dominated the metabolically active fraction of the bacterial community occurring at 6 to 8 cm (79%) and 10 to 12 cm (85%). This is the first phylogenetics-based evaluation of the presumptive metabolically active fraction of the Bacteria and Archaea community structure investigated along a sediment depth profile in the northern Gulf of Mexico, a hydrocarbon-rich cold-seep region. PMID:15345432

  16. Presence and diversity of anammox bacteria in cold hydrocarbon-rich seeps and hydrothermal vent sediments of the Guaymas Basin.

    PubMed

    Russ, Lina; Kartal, Boran; Op den Camp, Huub J M; Sollai, Martina; Le Bruchec, Julie; Caprais, Jean-Claude; Godfroy, Anne; Sinninghe Damsté, Jaap S; Jetten, Mike S M

    2013-01-01

    Hydrothermally active sediments are highly productive, chemosynthetic areas which are characterized by the rapid turnover of particulate organic matter under extreme conditions in which ammonia is liberated. These systems might be suitable habitats for anaerobic ammonium oxidizing (anammox) bacteria but this has not been investigated in detail. Here we report the diversity and abundance of anammox bacteria in sediments that seep cold hydrocarbon-rich fluids and hydrothermal vent areas of the Guaymas Basin in the Cortés Sea using the unique functional anammox marker gene, hydrazine synthase (hzsA). All clones retrieved were closely associated to the "Candidatus Scalindua" genus. Phylogenetic analysis revealed two distinct clusters of hzsA sequences (Ca. Scalindua hzsA cluster I and II). Comparison of individual sequences from both clusters showed that several of these sequences had a similarity as low as 76% on nucleotide level. Based on the analysis of this phylomarker, a very high interspecies diversity within the marine anammox group is apparent. Absolute numbers of anammox bacteria in the sediments samples were determined by amplification of a 257 bp fragment of the hszA gene in a qPCR assay. The results indicate that numbers of anammox bacteria are generally higher in cold hydrocarbon-rich sediments compared to the vent areas and the reference zone. Ladderanes, lipids unique to anammox bacteria were also detected in several of the sediment samples corroborating the hzsA analysis. Due to the high concentrations of reduced sulfur compounds and its potential impact on the cycling of nitrogen we aimed to get an indication about the key players in the oxidation of sulfide in the Guaymas Basin sediments using the alpha subunit of the adenosine-5'-phosphosulfate (APS) reductase (aprA). Amplification of the aprA gene revealed a high number of gammaproteobacterial aprA genes covering the two sulfur-oxidizing bacteria aprA lineages as well as sulfate-reducers.

  17. Pervasive barite deposits at cold seeps from the northern Gulf of Mexico continental slope: Geochemical characteristics and formation mechanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feng, D.; Roberts, H. H.

    2010-12-01

    Although the formations of seep-related barite deposits are now known to form where Ba-rich fluids discharge at the seafloor, questions remain about the geochemical characteristics and consequently biogeochemical processes that control the formation of the barite. Knowledge of isotope fractionations accompanying microbial sulfate reduction is important because both sulfur and oxygen isotopes of barites have been used as indicator of the origin and geochemical history of the sulfate. However, studies that include both δ34S and δ18O of seep-related barites are rare and there is disagreement on the explanation of the data. Here, we present a comprehensive study of the barite deposits at 11 cold seeps from the northern Gulf of Mexico continental slope. Seafloor observations and samples acquired indicate that barites occur as chimneys, cones, crusts, irregular mound-like buildups up to meters high and as a material disseminated in host sediment. The white to gray barites usually show a porous fabric and layered internal structure. Mineralogically, samples of barite may contain a certain amount of carbonate minerals, such calcite, and dolomite, but aragonite is absent. Negative δ13C values (as low as -46.4‰ PDB) of the carbonates indicate that methane as primary carbon source. The δ34S and δ18O of the barites have a large variation, ranging from 18 to 80.4‰ CDT, and 7.5 to 26.7‰ SMOW. On δ34S versus δ18O patters, many barite deposits show linear or concave-upward trends that project down toward the isotopic composition of seawater sulfate. The trend suggests that barite is formed from seawater sulfate that has been isotopically modified to varying degrees by biological sulfate reduction. Both sulfur and oxygen isotope fractionations are controlled by kinetic isotope effects during microbial sulfate reduction, which is reflected by δ34S/δ18O ratios from different sites between 2.4 and 4.1. The variations primarily reflect local controls on the flux of Ba

  18. ECOGIG: Oil spill effects on deep-sea corals through the lenses of natural hydrocarbon seeps and long time series

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cordes, Erik E.; Auscavitch, Steven; Baums, Iliana B.; Fisher, Charles R.; Girard, Fanny; Gomez, Carlos; McClain-Counts, Jennifer P.; Mendlovitz, Howard P.; Saunders, Miles; Smith, Styles; Vohsen, Samuel; Weinheimer, Alaina

    2016-01-01

    The 2015 Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf (ECOGIG) expedition was a continuation of a three-year partnership between our Gulf of Mexico Research Institute-funded research consortium and the Ocean Exploration Trust to study the effects of oil and dispersant on corals and closely related communities affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill (White et al., 2012, 2014; Hsing et al., 2013; Fisher et al., 2014a,b; Figure 1A– C). As part of our analysis, we explored a new site to the west of the Macondo well in lease block Mississippi Canyon (MC) 462 where we examined 50 new corals for impact from the spill (Figure 1D). A total of over 250 corals were re-imaged in 2015 for this ongoing time-series study. Another goal was to initiate a study to determine how proximity to natural seeps affects corals and infauna in these communities.

  19. Hydrocarbon flux from natural deepwater Gulf of Mexico vents

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flemings, P. B.; Smith, A. J.

    2012-12-01

    Natural vents that expel water and hydrocarbons are present on continental margins around the world. The expelled fluids support biological vent communities, escape to the ocean and atmosphere, and may contribute significantly to oceanic and atmospheric carbon budgets. We describe two vents in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM) at lease blocks MC852/853 and GB425 that have significant flow, high salinities, and elevated temperatures. We use a steady state multi-phase flow model and show that there is a unique water and hydrocarbon flux that simulates the observed salinity and temperature. We estimate the hydrocarbon flux at each vent to be 2.0-9.9x104 t yr-1 and 1.7-7.1x104 t yr-1, respectively. We extrapolate these results and estimate the hydrocarbon flux from the entire Gulf of Mexico to be 9.7-55x106 t yr-1. This flux is at least 50x greater than previous estimates11 and is 6-40% of the hydrocarbon flux from the Macondo oil spill. Large natural seepage may inoculate marine basins such as the Gulf of Mexico from oil spills like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout by sustaining populations of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria.

  20. Bacterial Endophytes Isolated from Plants in Natural Oil Seep Soils with Chronic Hydrocarbon Contamination

    PubMed Central

    Lumactud, Rhea; Shen, Shu Yi; Lau, Mimas; Fulthorpe, Roberta

    2016-01-01

    The bacterial endophytic communities of four plants growing abundantly in soils highly contaminated by hydrocarbons were analyzed through culturable and culture-independent means. Given their tolerance to the high levels of petroleum contamination at our study site, we sought evidence that Achillea millefolium, Solidago canadensis, Trifolium aureum, and Dactylis glomerata support high levels of hydrocarbon degrading endophytes. A total of 190 isolates were isolated from four plant species. The isolates were identified by partial 16S rDNA sequence analysis, with class Actinobacteria as the dominant group in all species except S. canadensis, which was dominated by Gammaproteobacteria. Microbacterium foliorum and Plantibacter flavus were present in all the plants, with M. foliorum showing predominance in D. glomerata and both endophytic bacterial species dominated T. aureum. More than 50% of the isolates demonstrated degradative capabilities for octanol, toluene, naphthalene, kerosene, or motor oil based on sole carbon source growth screens involving the reduction of tetrazolium dye. P. flavus isolates from all the sampled plants showed growth on all the petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs) substrates tested. Mineralization of toluene and naphthalene was confirmed using gas-chromatography. 16S based terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis revealed significant differences between the endophytic bacterial communities showing them to be plant host specific at this site. To our knowledge, this is the first account of the degradation potential of bacterial endophytes in these commonly occurring pioneer plants that were not previously known as phytoremediating plants. PMID:27252685

  1. Bacterial Endophytes Isolated from Plants in Natural Oil Seep Soils with Chronic Hydrocarbon Contamination.

    PubMed

    Lumactud, Rhea; Shen, Shu Yi; Lau, Mimas; Fulthorpe, Roberta

    2016-01-01

    The bacterial endophytic communities of four plants growing abundantly in soils highly contaminated by hydrocarbons were analyzed through culturable and culture-independent means. Given their tolerance to the high levels of petroleum contamination at our study site, we sought evidence that Achillea millefolium, Solidago canadensis, Trifolium aureum, and Dactylis glomerata support high levels of hydrocarbon degrading endophytes. A total of 190 isolates were isolated from four plant species. The isolates were identified by partial 16S rDNA sequence analysis, with class Actinobacteria as the dominant group in all species except S. canadensis, which was dominated by Gammaproteobacteria. Microbacterium foliorum and Plantibacter flavus were present in all the plants, with M. foliorum showing predominance in D. glomerata and both endophytic bacterial species dominated T. aureum. More than 50% of the isolates demonstrated degradative capabilities for octanol, toluene, naphthalene, kerosene, or motor oil based on sole carbon source growth screens involving the reduction of tetrazolium dye. P. flavus isolates from all the sampled plants showed growth on all the petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs) substrates tested. Mineralization of toluene and naphthalene was confirmed using gas-chromatography. 16S based terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis revealed significant differences between the endophytic bacterial communities showing them to be plant host specific at this site. To our knowledge, this is the first account of the degradation potential of bacterial endophytes in these commonly occurring pioneer plants that were not previously known as phytoremediating plants.

  2. Authigenic carbonate formation at hydrocarbon seeps in continental margin sediments: A comparative study

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Naehr, T.H.; Eichhubl, P.; Orphan, V.J.; Hovland, M.; Paull, C.K.; Ussler, W.; Lorenson, T.D.; Greene, H. Gary

    2007-01-01

    Authigenic carbonates from five continental margin locations, the Eel River Basin, Monterey Bay, Santa Barbara Basin, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the North Sea, exhibit a wide range of mineralogical and stable isotopic compositions. These precipitates include aragonite, low- and high-Mg calcite, and dolomite. The carbon isotopic composition of carbonates varies widely, ranging from -60??? to +26???, indicating complex carbon sources that include 13C-depleted microbial and thermogenic methane and residual, 13C-enriched, bicarbonate. A similarly large variability of ??18O values (-5.5??? to +8.9???) demonstrates the geochemical complexity of these sites, with some samples pointing toward an 18O-enriched oxygen source possibly related to advection of 18O-enriched formation water or to the decomposition of gas hydrate. Samples depleted in 18O are consistent with formation deeper in the sediment or mixing of pore fluids with meteoric water during carbonate precipitation. A wide range of isotopic and mineralogical variation in authigenic carbonate composition within individual study areas but common trends across multiple geographic areas suggest that these parameters alone are not indicative for certain tectonic or geochemical settings. Rather, the observed variations probably reflect local controls on the flux of carbon and other reduced ions, such as faults, fluid conduits, the presence or absence of gas hydrate in the sediment, and the temporal evolution of the local carbon reservoir. Areas with seafloor carbonates that indicate formation at greater depth below the sediment-water interface must have undergone uplift and erosion in the past or are still being uplifted. Consequently, the occurrence of carbonate slabs on the seafloor in areas of active hydrocarbon seepage is commonly an indicator of exhumation following carbonate precipitation in the shallow subsurface. Therefore, careful petrographic and geochemical analyses are critical components necessary for the

  3. Geochemical characteristics of the barite deposits at cold seeps from the northern Gulf of Mexico continental slope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feng, Dong; Roberts, Harry H.

    2011-09-01

    Although less common than the occurrence of authigenic carbonate, barite has been observed frequently at cold seeps on continental margins worldwide. It is understood that barite forms by the interaction of barium-rich and sulfate-free seeping fluids with dissolved sulfate of pore water near the seafloor, but questions remain about the geochemical processes and mode(s) of the barite formation. Here, we report geochemical characteristics of barite deposits at 11 cold seep locations from the northern Gulf of Mexico continental slope. Samples from these sites of fluid and gas expulsion provide environmental information on barite formation. Seafloor observations and samples acquired indicate that barites occur as chimneys, cones, crusts, irregular mound-like buildups up to 2-meters high, and as a material disseminated in host sediment. Most barite samples are white-to-gray and usually have a porous fabric and layered internal structure. Mineralogically, samples of barite may contain a significant amounts of carbonate minerals, such as calcite and dolomite, but aragonite is absent in all samples analyzed in this study. Negative δ 13C values (as low as - 46.4‰ V-PDB) of the associated carbonates strongly suggests that methane is the primary carbon source. The δ 34S and δ 18O values of the barites have large variations, ranging from 18‰ to 80.4‰ V-CDT, and 7.5‰ to 26.7‰ V-SMOW, respectively. On δ 34S versus δ 18O plots, many barite deposits show a linear trend that projects down toward the isotopic composition of seawater sulfate. The trend suggests that barite formed from seawater sulfate that has been isotopically modified to varying degrees by biological sulfate reduction. The δ 34S/δ 18O ratios vary between 2.4 and 4.1. The variations are interpreted to reflect local controls on the flux of barium-rich seep fluids, changes in the rate of bacterial sulfate reduction, and/or the openness of pore fluid system. The 87Sr/ 86Sr values of the barites

  4. Constraints on Methane and Methane Hydrate Distribution at a Gulf of Mexico Seep Using Waveform Inversion of Seismic Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wood, W.; Knapp, C. C.; Knapp, J. H.

    2010-12-01

    The seafloor mound at the Gulf of Mexico lease block MC (Mississippi Canyon) 118 is a known active seep lying directly above a salt dome. The site lies at 850-900 m water depth - within the methane hydrate stability zone, but there is no obvious BSR or other indicator of large quantities of gas or gas hydrate. Air-gun seismic data acquired with a 4180 cu in source and 7200 m, 288-channel hydrophone array, exhibit several bright, but laterally-limited reflections in the ~500 m sediment column above the salt. The bright spots are largely conformable with the strata, and there is no apparent pull-up or push-down associated with the bright spots, suggesting they are thin. There are also no significant frequency changes below the bright spots. We interpret the bright spots to be caused by gas, gas hydrate, or carbonate, or combinations of the three. The long offsets used to acquire these data allow for the analysis of refracted arrivals that not only provide accurate P-wave velocities, but also provide a background velocity profile for full waveform inversion. Preliminary results from the waveform inversion confirm at least some of the bright spots are free gas, constraining the position of the gas hydrate stability zone, but very thin (sub-wavelength) layers of carbonate and hydrate may also be present. Knowing the exact composition of the material responsible for the bright spots will better constrain the linkage between the salt tectonics (with implied fault activity) and seep activity, as well as the longevity of the hydrate system at MC 118.

  5. Presence and diversity of anammox bacteria in cold hydrocarbon-rich seeps and hydrothermal vent sediments of the Guaymas Basin

    PubMed Central

    Russ, Lina; Kartal, Boran; op den Camp, Huub J. M.; Sollai, Martina; Le Bruchec, Julie; Caprais, Jean-Claude; Godfroy, Anne; Sinninghe Damsté, Jaap S.; Jetten, Mike S. M.

    2013-01-01

    Hydrothermally active sediments are highly productive, chemosynthetic areas which are characterized by the rapid turnover of particulate organic matter under extreme conditions in which ammonia is liberated. These systems might be suitable habitats for anaerobic ammonium oxidizing (anammox) bacteria but this has not been investigated in detail. Here we report the diversity and abundance of anammox bacteria in sediments that seep cold hydrocarbon-rich fluids and hydrothermal vent areas of the Guaymas Basin in the Cortés Sea using the unique functional anammox marker gene, hydrazine synthase (hzsA). All clones retrieved were closely associated to the “Candidatus Scalindua” genus. Phylogenetic analysis revealed two distinct clusters of hzsA sequences (Ca. Scalindua hzsA cluster I and II). Comparison of individual sequences from both clusters showed that several of these sequences had a similarity as low as 76% on nucleotide level. Based on the analysis of this phylomarker, a very high interspecies diversity within the marine anammox group is apparent. Absolute numbers of anammox bacteria in the sediments samples were determined by amplification of a 257 bp fragment of the hszA gene in a qPCR assay. The results indicate that numbers of anammox bacteria are generally higher in cold hydrocarbon-rich sediments compared to the vent areas and the reference zone. Ladderanes, lipids unique to anammox bacteria were also detected in several of the sediment samples corroborating the hzsA analysis. Due to the high concentrations of reduced sulfur compounds and its potential impact on the cycling of nitrogen we aimed to get an indication about the key players in the oxidation of sulfide in the Guaymas Basin sediments using the alpha subunit of the adenosine-5′-phosphosulfate (APS) reductase (aprA). Amplification of the aprA gene revealed a high number of gammaproteobacterial aprA genes covering the two sulfur-oxidizing bacteria aprA lineages as well as sulfate

  6. Origins of hydrocarbon gas seeping out from offshore mud volcanoes in the Nile delta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prinzhofer, Alain; Deville, Eric

    2013-04-01

    This paper discusses the origin of gas seepages (free gas or dissolved gas in ground water or brine) sampled with the Nautile submarine during the Nautinil cruise at the seafloor of the deep water area of the Nile turbiditic system on different mud volcanoes and brine pools. Generally, the gas is wet and includes C1, C2, C3, iC4, nC4, CO2. These gas samples show no evidence of biodegradation which is not the case of the gas present in the deep hydrocarbon accumulations at depth. It indicates that the gas expelled by the mud volcanoes is not issued from direct leakages from deep gas fields. The collected gas samples mainly have a thermogenic origin and show different maturities. Some samples show very high maturities indicating that these seepages are sourced from great depths, below the Messinian salt. Moreover, the different chemical compositions of the gas samples reflect not only differences in maturity but also the fact that the gas finds its origin in different deep source rocks. Carbon dioxide has an organic signature and cannot result from carbonate decomposition or mantle fluids. The crustal-derived radiogenic isotopes show that the analyzed gas samples have suffered a fractionation processes after the production of the radiogenic isotopes, due either to oil occurrence at depth interacting with the flux of gas, and/or fractionation during the fluid migration.

  7. Marine oil seeps

    SciTech Connect

    Meyer, R.F. )

    1991-03-01

    Petroleum hydrocarbons of both biogenic and thermogenic origin are common constituents of the marine water column and sediment of the continental shelves. Approximately 0.25 million metric tons of oil per year, constituting about 8% of the oil input into the sea, is derived from natural seeps, the rest being anthropogenic. Seepage has occurred world-wide for millions of years and must have been many times greater in the past, when enormous oil deposits, such as the Orinoco Oil Belt, were first exposed to erosion. Although the amount varies from site to site with time, seepage is pervasive in polar and temperate seas. Marine-seep oil is intensely weathered and thus can be distinguished chemically from recent biogenic or undegraded crude oil. The degraded oil from seeps appears to have little deleterious effect on many marine organisms, which ingest and discharge the oil mostly unmetabolized. Chemical analyses suggest that a very large oil-rich layer in the Sargasso Sea originated from a large and as yet undetected seep. Oil seeps have long been used as guides for oil exploration onshore but have been underutilized for this purpose offshore because of oil-plume drift from the site of the seep and because natural oil slicks may be masked by spilled oil. At least one marine seep, in the Santa Barbara Channel, California, is producing oil and natural gas into two hollow steel pyramids from which the oil is collected by work boats and the natural gas is transported to shore by pipeline. This facility effectively reduces atmospheric pollution, controls marine oil pollution from the largest seep in the area, provides emission credits, and yields a modest economic benefit, but the seep is not known to have been used directly in oil exploration.

  8. Patterns and variability in geochemical signatures and microbial activity within and between diverse cold seep habitats along the lower continental slope, Northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bowles, Marshall; Hunter, Kimberley S.; Samarkin, Vladimir; Joye, Samantha

    2016-07-01

    We collected 69 sediment cores from distinct ecological and geological settings along the deep slope in the Northern Gulf of Mexico to evaluate whether specific geochemical- or habitat-related factors correlated with rates of microbial processes and geochemical signatures. By collecting replicate cores from distinct habitats across multiple sites, we illustrate and quantify the heterogeneity of cold seep geochemistry and microbial activity. These data also document the factors driving unique aspects of the geochemistry of deep slope gas, oil and brine seeps. Surprisingly little variation was observed between replicate (n=2-5) cores within sites for most analytes (except methane), implying that the common practice of collecting one core for geochemical analysis can capture the signature of a habitat in most cases. Depth-integrated concentrations of methane, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), and calcium were the predominant geochemical factors that correlated with a site's ecological or geological settings. Pore fluid methane concentration was related to the phosphate and DIC concentration, as well as to rates of sulfate reduction. While distinctions between seep habitats were identified from geochemical signatures, habitat specific geochemistry varied little across sites. The relative concentration of dissolved inorganic nitrogen versus phosphorus suggests that phosphorus availability limits biomass production at cold seeps. Correlations between calcium, chloride, and phosphate concentrations were indicative of brine-associated phosphate transport, suggesting that in addition to the co-migration of methane, dissolved organic carbon, and ammonium with brine, phosphate delivery is also associated with brine advection.

  9. Distribution of subsurface hydrocarbon seepage in near surface marine sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Abrams, M.A. )

    1993-02-01

    Hydrocarbon seeps in surficial marine sediments are of two types: ACTIVE: Where gas bubbles, pockmarks, or bright spots are visible on seismic records and/or the presence of chemosynthetic communities in conjunction with large concentrations of migrated-hydrocarbons. Generally in areas where generation and migration of hydrocarbons from the source rock is ongoing today (i.e., maximum burial) and/or where significant migration pathways have developed from tectonic activity. PASSIVE: Where concentrations of migrated hydrocarbons are so low that few or no geophysical anomalies are seen. Typically in areas where generation and expulsion is relict (no longer at maximum burial) and/or regional seals prevent significant vertical migration. The type of seep strongly controls the distribution of migrated hydrocarbons in the near surface sediments and should dictate the sampling equipment and approach required to detect seeps. Active seeps or macroseeps, usually can be detected near the water-sediment interface, within the water column, and at relatively large distances from major leak points. Most conventional sediment and water samplers will capture active seeps, Precise location of sampling is typically not critical to detect active seeps. The Gulf of Mexico, Santa Barbara Channel, and parts of the North Sea have active hydrocarbon seeps.

  10. Biogeochemical signatures and microbial activity of different cold-seep habitats along the Gulf of Mexico deep slope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joye, Samantha B.; Bowles, Marshall W.; Samarkin, Vladimir A.; Hunter, Kimberley S.; Niemann, Helge

    2010-11-01

    Microorganisms and the processes they mediate serve as the metabolic foundation of cold seeps. We characterized a suite of biogeochemical constituents and quantified rates of two key microbial processes, Sulfate Reduction (SR) and Anaerobic Oxidation of Methane (AOM), to assess variability between habitats at water depths exceeding 1000 m in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Rates of SR were highest in sediments beneath microbial mats, lower in brine-influenced and oil-influenced sediments, and lowest in animal habitats. Sediments collected near tubeworms had the highest SR rates for animal habitats. Rates of AOM generally were low, but higher rates were associated with brine-influenced, oil-influenced, tubeworm- and urchin-inhabited sediments. Rates of both SR and AOM were orders of magnitude lower at deep-slope sites compared to upper-slope sites examined previously. As observed at upper-slope sites, SR and AOM rates were often loosely coupled. At one site, AOM rates exceeded SR rates, suggesting that an alternate electron acceptor for AOM is possible. Extremely depleted δ13C values in methane illustrated the broad significance of biogenic methane production at deep-slope sites. Brine-influenced habitats were characterized by extremely high concentrations of ammonium and dissolved organic carbon, serving as important focused sources of these chemicals to adjacent environments.

  11. Hydrocarbon Migration from the Micro to Macro Scale in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johansen, C.; Marty, E.; Silva, M.; Natter, M.; Shedd, W. W.; Hill, J. C.; Viso, R. F.; Lobodin, V.; Krajewski, L.; Abrams, M.; MacDonald, I. R.

    2016-02-01

    In the Northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM) at GC600, ECOGIG has been investigating the processes involved in hydrocarbon migration from deep reservoirs to sea surface. We studied two individual vents, Birthday Candles (BC) and Mega-Plume (MP), which are separated by 1km on a salt supported ridge trending from NW-SE. Seismic data depicts two faults, also separated by 1km, feeding into the surface gas hydrate region. BC and MP comprise the range between oily, mixed, and gaseous-type vents. In both cases bubbles are observed escaping from gas hydrate out crops at the sea floor and supporting chemosynthetic communities. Fluid flow is indicated by features on the sea floor such as hydrate mounds, authigenic carbonates, brine pools, mud volcanoes, and biology. We propose a model to describe the upward flow of hydrocarbons from three vertical scales, each dominated by different factors: 1) macro (capillary failure in overlying cap rocks causing reservoir leakage), 2) meso (buoyancy driven fault migration), and 3) micro (hydrate formation and chemosynthetic activity). At the macro scale we use high reflectivity in seismic data and sediment pore throat radii to determine the formation of fractures in leaky reservoirs. Once oil and gas leave the reservoir through fractures in the cap rock they migrate in separate phases. At the meso scale we use seismic data to locate faults and salt diapirs that form conduits for buoyant hydrocarbons follow. This connects the path to the micro scale where we used video data to observe bubble release from individual vents for extended periods of time (3h-26d), and developed an image processing program to quantify bubble release rates. At mixed vents gaseous bubbles are observed escaping hydrate outcrops with a coating of oil varying in thickness. Bubble oil and gas ratios are estimated using average bubble size and release rates. The relative vent age can be described by carbonate hard ground cover, biological activity, and hydrate mound formation

  12. Hydrocarbons emissions from Cerro Prieto Geothermal Power Plant, Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Navarro, Karina; Navarro-González, Rafael; de la Rosa, José; Peralta, Oscar; Castro, Telma; Imaz, Mireya

    2014-05-01

    One of the most important environmental issues related to the use of geothermal fluids to generate electricity is the emission of non-condensable gases to the atmosphere. Mexico has one of the largest geothermal plants in the world. The facility is located at Cerro Prieto, Baja California, roughly 30 km south of Mexicali and the international boundary between Mexico and United States. The Cerro Prieto power plant has 13 units grouped on four individual powerhouses. Gas samples from 9 units of the four powerhouses were collected during 4 campaigns conducted in May-July, 2010, February, 2012, December, 2012, and May, 2013. Gas samples from the stacks were collected in 1000 ml Pyrex round flasks with Teflon stopcocks, and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Methane was the most abundant aliphatic hydrocarbon, with a concentration that ranged from less than 1% up to 3.5% of the total gas mixture. Normal alkanes represented the second most abundant species, and displayed a decreasing abundance with increasing carbon number in the homologous series. Isoalkanes were also present as isobutane and isopentane. Cycloalkanes occurring as cyclopentane and cyclohexane, were detected only at trace level. Unsaturated hydrocarbons (alkenes and alkynes) were not detected. Benzene was detected at levels ranging from less than 1% up to 3.4% of the total gas mixture. Other aromatic hydrocarbons detected were toluene, and xylenes, and were present at lower concentrations (

  13. Sea-floor features related to hydrocarbon seeps in deepwater carbonate-mud mounds of the Gulf of Cádiz: from mud flows to carbonate precipitates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    León, R.; Somoza, L.; Medialdea, T.; González, F. J.; Díaz-Del-Río, V.; Fernández-Puga, M. C.; Maestro, A.; Mata, M. P.

    2007-06-01

    Underwater images taken from deepwater carbonate-mud mounds located along the continental margin of the Gulf of Cádiz (eastern Central Atlantic) have identified a great variety of hydrocarbon seep-related geomorphic features that exist on the sea floor. An extensive photographic survey was made along the Guadalquivir Diapiric Ridge, after detailed examination of the main mounds identified on previous swath bathymetry coverage, high-resolution seismic imagery, dredge and gravity core data. Recognised fluid-induced geomorphic features include seep precipitates, named here generically as hydrocarbon-derived authigenic carbonates (HDACs), mud-breccia flows and piping/rills, at scales ranging from metres to centimetres. Based on the viscosity, texture, morphology, and the nature of observed features, we have categorized the geomorphic seeps into the following types: mud-breccia flows and liquid seepages, which can be grouped as highly viscous and viscous mud-breccia flows, gassy mud-breccia flows, and small-scale piping/rills; HDACs types, including massive crusts, “honeycombed” carbonate crusts, nodular aggregated crusts, steeply dipping to vertical slabs, and pipe-like formations (chimneys). These widespread geomorphic features observed along the carbonate-mud mounds reveal alternate periods of (1) active mud-flow extrusion (mud-volcano formation), (2) reduced seepage activity, with the formation of extensive carbonate features by chemosynthetic organisms, and (3) formation of hardgrounds and colonisation by non-chemosynthetic organisms such as deepwater corals (e.g. Lophelia pertusa, Madrepora oculata). The formation of large amounts of HDACs is related to the microbially mediated oxidation of hydrocarbon fluids (biogenic and thermogenic) during periods of slower fluid venting. This has led to the hypothesis that these carbonate-mud mounds could be built up by alternating episodes of varying fluid-venting rates, with peaks that may have been triggered by

  14. Investigating the emission, dissolution, and oxidation of CH4 within and around a seep bubble plume in the Gulf of Mexico.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leonte, M.; Kessler, J. D.; Socolofsky, S. A.

    2016-02-01

    One of the largest carbon reservoirs on the planet is stored as methane (CH4) in and below the seafloor. However, a large discrepancy exists between estimated fluxes of CH4 into the water column and CH4 fluxes from the sea surface to the atmosphere, suggesting that a significant fraction of CH4 released from seafloor seeps is dissolved and potentially removed through microbial oxidation. Here we present data investigating the fate of CH4 released from the Sleeping Dragon seep site in the Gulf of Mexico. The bubble plume was followed from the seafloor until it fully dissolved using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Water samples were collected by the ROV at different depths as well as lateral transects through the bubble plume. These samples were analyzed for dissolved concentrations of methane, ethane, propane, and butane as well as the 13C isotopic ratio of methane. Furthermore, seep bubbles from the seafloor were also collected and analyzed for the same properties. Based on these chemical data, the rate of CH4 emission from the seafloor, oxidation in the water column, and dissolution are investigated.

  15. Origin of hydrocarbons in Gulf of Mexico basin: A reappraisal

    SciTech Connect

    Bissada, K.K.; Katz, B.J.; Barnicle, S.C.; Schunk, D.J.

    1988-01-01

    The origin of hydrocarbons in the Gulf of Mexico basin has been a subject of controversy for many years. One argument invokes source rocks of average organic enrichment, pervasively distributed throughout the Tertiary sequence and closely associated with the reservoir system. Another argument invokes exceptionally rich, discrete source rocks not in contact with the reservoirs, possibly in pre-Tertiary sequences. Continued exploration success in the basin hinges on the resolution of this controversy because of implications on patterns of hydrocarbon migration within the basin and the timing of petroleum generation relative to reservoir and trap development. Geochemical analyses of hundreds of crude oils, natural gases, and nonreservoir rocks from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic trends along the northern Gulf of Mexico basin indicate the general inadequacy of the Tertiary section to source the huge oil accumulations within Cenozoic reservoirs. Furthermore, other than the biogenic gas, isotopic data indicate that the majority of nonassociated gases found in Cenozoic accumulations have been thermogenically derived from much greater depths where maturation is consistent with dry gas generation. Geochemical data from several Mesozoic units in the basin, but outside the Cenozoic trend proper, indicate the existence of excellent Mesozoic source rocks. It is proposed that such units extend below the Cenozoic producing trends and are drained by deep-seated faults and piercement salt structures. Maturation history, structural style, and patterns of migration and remigration control the variable productivity along the various trends.

  16. Remote-sensing evaluation of geophysical anomaly sites in the outer continental slope, northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia-Pineda, Oscar; MacDonald, Ian; Zimmer, Beate; Shedd, Bill; Roberts, Harry

    2010-11-01

    Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images obtained from satellites are a reliable tool for localizing natural hydrocarbon seeps. For this study, we used the Texture Classifier Neural Network Algorithm (TCNNA) to interpret SAR data from the RADARSAT satellite and a geostatistical clustering analysis to compare seeps detected in 579 SAR images covering the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Geostatistical analysis results indicate that, in a typical active seep formation, oil vents would be found within a seep formation ∼2.5 km in diameter. Repeated observations of slicks at a given seep formation indicate that advection of rising oil in the water column causes an offset from the vent depending on water depth. At 500 m, the radial offset is up to 1400 m; at 2000 m, it is up to 3270 m. Observations with submersibles showed that, in 100% of the cases, the calculated seep formations that are matched with active oil seeps correspond to anomalies interpreted from surface amplitude maps and migration pathways in the seismic data. However, episodically, larger releases from persistent seeps occurred, and also some other seep formations showed intermittent releases. Our analysis indicates that active oil seeps detected with SAR represent a subset of the total array of geophysical features generated by hydrocarbon migration on the northern continental slope of the Gulf of Mexico.

  17. Impact of protists on a hydrocarbon-degrading bacterial community from deep-sea Gulf of Mexico sediments: A microcosm study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beaudoin, David J.; Carmichael, Catherine A.; Nelson, Robert K.; Reddy, Christopher M.; Teske, Andreas P.; Edgcomb, Virginia P.

    2016-07-01

    In spite of significant advancements towards understanding the dynamics of petroleum hydrocarbon degrading microbial consortia, the impacts (direct or indirect via grazing activities) of bacterivorous protists remain largely unknown. Microcosm experiments were used to examine whether protistan grazing affects the petroleum hydrocarbon degradation capacity of a deep-sea sediment microbial community from an active Gulf of Mexico cold seep. Differences in n-alkane content between native sediment microcosms and those treated with inhibitors of eukaryotes were assessed by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography following 30-90 day incubations and analysis of shifts in microbial community composition using small subunit ribosomal RNA gene clone libraries. More biodegradation was observed in microcosms supplemented with eukaryotic inhibitors. SSU rRNA gene clone libraries from oil-amended treatments revealed an increase in the number of proteobacterial clones (particularly γ-proteobacteria) after spiking sediments with diesel oil. Bacterial community composition shifted, and degradation rates increased, in treatments where protists were inhibited, suggesting protists affect the hydrocarbon degrading capacity of microbial communities in sediments collected at this Gulf of Mexico site.

  18. Gas and gas hydrate distribution around seafloor seeps in Mississippi Canyon, Northern Gulf of Mexico, using multi-resolution seismic imagery

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wood, W.T.; Hart, P.E.; Hutchinson, D.R.; Dutta, N.; Snyder, F.; Coffin, R.B.; Gettrust, J.F.

    2008-01-01

    To determine the impact of seeps and focused flow on the occurrence of shallow gas hydrates, several seafloor mounds in the Atwater Valley lease area of the Gulf of Mexico were surveyed with a wide range of seismic frequencies. Seismic data were acquired with a deep-towed, Helmholz resonator source (220-820 Hz); a high-resolution, Generator-Injector air-gun (30-300 Hz); and an industrial air-gun array (10-130 Hz). Each showed a significantly different response in this weakly reflective, highly faulted area. Seismic modeling and observations of reversed-polarity reflections and small scale diffractions are consistent with a model of methane transport dominated regionally by diffusion but punctuated by intense upward advection responsible for the bathymetric mounds, as well as likely advection along pervasive filamentous fractures away from the mounds.

  19. Late Pleistocene to Holocene sedimentation and hydrocarbon seeps on the continental shelf of a steep, tectonically active margin, southern California, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Draut, Amy E.; Hart, Patrick E.; Lorenson, T.D.; Ryan, Holly F.; Wong, Florence L.; Sliter, Ray W.; Conrad, James E.

    2009-01-01

    Small, steep, uplifting coastal watersheds are prolific sediment producers that contribute significantly to the global marine sediment budget. This study illustrates how sedimentation evolves in one such system where the continental shelf is largely sediment-starved, with most terrestrial sediment bypassing the shelf in favor of deposition in deeper basins. The Santa Barbara-Ventura coast of southern California, USA, is considered a classic area for the study of active tectonics and of Tertiary and Quaternary climatic evolution, interpretations of which depend upon an understanding of sedimentation patterns. High-resolution seismic-reflection data over >570 km2 of this shelf show that sediment production is concentrated in a few drainage basins, with the Ventura and Santa Clara River deltas containing most of the upper Pleistocene to Holocene sediment on the shelf. Away from those deltas, the major factor controlling shelf sedimentation is the interaction of wave energy with coastline geometry. Depocenters containing sediment 5-20 m thick exist opposite broad coastal embayments, whereas relict material (bedrock below a regional unconformity) is exposed at the sea floor in areas of the shelf opposite coastal headlands. Locally, natural hydrocarbon seeps interact with sediment deposition either to produce elevated tar-and-sediment mounds or as gas plumes that hinder sediment settling. As much as 80% of fluvial sediment delivered by the Ventura and Santa Clara Rivers is transported off the shelf (some into the Santa Barbara Basin and some into the Santa Monica Basin via Hueneme Canyon), leaving a shelf with relatively little recent sediment accumulation. Understanding factors that control large-scale sediment dispersal along a rapidly uplifting coast that produces substantial quantities of sediment has implications for interpreting the ancient stratigraphic record of active and transform continental margins, and for inferring the distribution of hydrocarbon resources

  20. Megafauna recovered from a cold hydrocarbon seep in the deep Alaskan Beaufort Sea, including a new species of Axinus (Thracidae: Bivalvia: Mollusca)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Powell, C. L.; Valentich-Scott, P.; Lorenson, T. D.; Edwards, B. D.

    2011-12-01

    Several specimens of a new species of Axinus and a single well-worn gastropod columella provisionally assigned to the genus Neptunea (Buccinidae: Gastropoda: Mollusca) were recently recovered from at least two cores, the longest of which is 5.72 m long, from a large seafloor mound, informally named the Canning Seafloor Mound (CSM). The CSM is located at 2,530 m water depth on the Alaskan Beaufort Sea slope north of Camden Bay and is a fluid explosion feature containing methane hydrate and methane-saturated sediments overlying a folded and faulted deep basin. Only two modern species of Axinus are currently known. Axinus grandis (Verrill & Smith, 1885) is a northern Atlantic species and the recently described species, A. cascadiensis Oliver and Holmes (2007), is only known from Baby Bare Seamount, Cascadia Basin, northeastern Pacific Ocean. Common fragments, single valves, and a single articulated specimen represent this new Axinus species. These shells were distributed over nearly the entire length of the primary core. All specimens show wear and (or) dissolution. The age of these specimens is unknown and no living representatives were encountered. The genus Axinus has a fossil record back to the early Eocene in England and the Paleocene and Eocene in Egypt. Biogeographically the genus appears to have originated in the Tethys Sea and became established in the Atlantic Ocean during the Eocene, spreading across the Arctic Ocean in the late Tertiary. With the opening of the Bering Strait in the latest Miocene or early Pliocene the genus Axinus migrated southwest into the northeast Pacific. Interestingly, hydrocarbon seep deposits are also present on the adjacent North Slope of Alaska in the Marsh Anticline at Carter Creek, Camden Bay. These rocks, the Nuwok beds, contain abundant Thracidae bivalve of the genus Thracia, but not Axinus, however the rocks also represent cold seep deposits. These rocks have been variously dated from Oligocene to Pliocene and the exact age

  1. Receptor model source apportionment of nonmethane hydrocarbons in Mexico City.

    PubMed

    Mugica, V; Watson, J; Vega, E; Reyes, E; Ruiz, M E; Chow, J

    2002-03-29

    With the purpose of estimating the source contributions of nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHC) to the atmosphere at three different sites in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area, 92 ambient air samples were measured from February 23 to March 22 of 1997. Light- and heavy-duty vehicular profiles were determined to differentiate the NMHC contribution of diesel and gasoline to the atmosphere. Food cooking source profiles were also determined for chemical mass balance receptor model application. Initial source contribution estimates were carried out to determine the adequate combination of source profiles and fitting species. Ambient samples of NMHC were apportioned to motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapor, handling and distribution of liquefied petroleum gas (LP gas), asphalt operations, painting operations, landfills, and food cooking. Both gasoline and diesel motor vehicle exhaust were the major NMHC contributors for all sites and times, with a percentage of up to 75%. The average motor vehicle exhaust contributions increased during the day. In contrast, LP gas contribution was higher during the morning than in the afternoon. Apportionment for the most abundant individual NMHC showed that the vehicular source is the major contributor to acetylene, ethylene, pentanes, n-hexane, toluene, and xylenes, while handling and distribution of LP gas was the major source contributor to propane and butanes. Comparison between CMB estimates of NMHC and the emission inventory showed a good agreement for vehicles, handling and distribution of LP gas, and painting operations; nevertheless, emissions from diesel exhaust and asphalt operations showed differences, and the results suggest that these emissions could be underestimated.

  2. Chronic, Anthropogenic Hydrocarbon Releases in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Daneshgar Asl, S.; Amos, J.; Woods, P.; Garcia-Pineda, O. G.; MacDonald, I. R.

    2012-12-01

    We used satellite remote sensing to quantify hydrocarbon releases cataloged in the Gulf of Mexico. Satellite SAR has frequently been used for detecting small volume releases of oil in the Gulf. Hydrocarbon compounds reduce water surface roughness and therefore can be detected on SAR images as dark areas. We compiled National Response Center (NRC) oil and hazardous materials spill reports in the Gulf of Mexico submitted by the polluters and by passers-by, collected and filtered by SkyTruth from 2001 to 2012 and determined whether the reports coincided with archived SAR images. So, 316 out of a total 4,574 reports could be investigated from 64 SAR images over the report locations. Some of the images covered multiple reports and oil releases described one report could be observed in more than one image. Current information on platforms, pipeline locations, and ages provided by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) can also help us in identifying sources of anthropogenic pollution. The visibility analysis indicated 66 reports of releases were from pipeline, platforms or other anthropogenic sources. Of these, 21 could be seen in SAR images. There were also 133 reports of releases from unknown sources. Of these, 28 were visible in the images. Moreover, 103 anthropogenic reports were attributed to the Taylor offshore platform (platform 23051 in Mississippi Canyon Block 20) which was destroyed during Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and subsequently removed. Of those, 55 were visible in the SAR images and were significantly larger when compared with other reported anthropogenic slicks. The rest of the reports were coded invisible for reasons such as attendance of multiple slicks which makes the decision difficult, report falling outside of the image, image contrast, noisy image, no slick at all, wrong coding, and no slick at the site but another slick in proximity. We then focused on the size of the visible reports which were extracted. The

  3. Tectono-Stratigraphy of the Seeps on the Guaymas Basin at the Sonora Margin, Gulf of California, Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Figueroa Albornoz, L. J.; Mortera-Gutierrez, C. A.; Bandy, W. L.; Escobar-Briones, E. G.; Godfroy, A.; Fouquet, Y.

    2013-05-01

    Recently several hydrothermal and gas seeps systems has been located precisely at the Sonora margin within the Guaymas Basin (GB), Gulf of California. Since late 1970's , several marine studies had reported two main hydrothermal systems in the Guaymas Rift (one at the Northern Rift, and other at the Southern Rift) and a cold seeps system at the Satellite Basin in the Sonora-margin lower edge. During the campaign BIG10, onboard the IFREMER vessel, NO L'Atalante, the EM122 echo-sounder log more than 30,000 water column acoustic images, which allows us to create a data base of the bubble plumes active systems on the northern part of the GB and the Sonora Margin. These plumes are the expression on the water column of an active seeps site during the cruise time. These images document the presence of the cold seep activity around the scarp of the Guaymas Transform Fault (GTF), and within the Satellite Basin. Few active plumes are first located off-axis, on both sides of the Northern Rift. Although it is not observed any plume within NR. Sub-bottom profiles and bathymetric data logged during the campaign GUAYRIV10, onboard the UNAM vessel, BO EL PUMA, are analyzed to determine the shallow tectonic-stratigraphy of GB near the Sonora Margin. We analyze 17 high-resolution seismic profiles (13 with NE-SW strike and 3 with NW-SE strike). From this data set, the continental shelf stratigraphy at the Sonora Margin tilts toward the slope, showing 3 low angle unconformities due to tectonics and slope angle changes. The strata slope changes angle up to 60°. However, the constant trans-tension shear along the GTF causes gravitation instability on the slope, generating a few submarine landslides close to the Northern Rift, and the rotation of blocks, tilting toward the shelf. To the north, the GTF splits in two fault escarpments, forming a narrow pull-apart basin, known as Satellite Basin. The submarine canyon from the Sonora River flows through the Satellite Basin into the GB

  4. High Resolution Seafloor Environmental Characterization of Methane Seeps in the Mississippi Canyon Near Atwater Valley 13/14, Gulf of Mexico.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gardner, J. M.; Hagen, R.; Hart, P.; Czarnecki, M.; Nishimura, C.; Hutchinson, D. R.

    2005-12-01

    The purpose of this project was to conduct detailed surface mapping of one of the areas drilled by the Joint Industry Project with ChevronTexaco to understand gas hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico. The gently sloping, mostly flat floor of the Mississippi Canyon is interrupted by mounds and depressions that presumably reflect the complex geology and geohydrology related to turbidite deposition and pervasive salt tectonism. The seafloor mounds we mapped in this study occur in approximately 1300 water depth along the floor of the Mississippi Canyon in lease block areas Atwater Valley 13 and 14. High resolution sidescan sonar (100 kHz and 500 kHz) backscatter imagery, and chirp sub-bottom profiler data were collected using the DT1 deep-towed oceanographic mapping instrument, concentrating on the region directly adjacent to and surrounding two mounds identified as, mounds D and F, and in the region directly adjacent to and surrounding the mounds. The backscatter data have been mosaiced and normalized to provide information on the shape and extent of the mounds, the possible lateral extent of fauna, such as mussel and clam fields on the mounds, possible seep related flows and the occurrence of carbonate material. The extent of a mudflow can be mapped on the southeastern side of mound F. Previously collected bottom camera images have been used to ground-truth the backscatter information. Coincident with the collection of backscatter information was the collection of very high-resolution bathymetric data. Together, the backscatter and bathymetric data show extremely high-resolution detail about the shape, relief, and morphology of the mounds. This information, coupled with porewater chemistry and heatflow data form a coherent picture of possible mechanics for fluid venting and flora/fauna of the seeps in this region.

  5. seeping gas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carlowicz, Michael

    On a recent cruise of the Russian research ship Professor Logachev, scientists from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), the Russian research institute VNI-IOkeangeologia (St. Petersburg), and other institutions found what they believe to be thin white sheets of methane hydrates. The white layer (possibly also mats of chemosynthetic bacteria) covers the center of a deep-sea mud volcano in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. The Haakon Mosby mud volcano—a “cow-pie-shaped” cold seep that is 1 km in diameter—lies at 1250-m depth and south of Spitsbergen, Norway.

  6. Diversity, relative abundance and metabolic potential of bacterial endosymbionts in three Bathymodiolus mussel species from cold seeps in the Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Duperron, Sébastien; Sibuet, Myriam; MacGregor, Barbara J; Kuypers, Marcel M M; Fisher, Chuck R; Dubilier, Nicole

    2007-06-01

    Cold seeps in the Gulf of Mexico are often dominated by mussels of the genus Bathymodiolus that harbour symbiotic bacteria in their gills. In this study, we analysed symbiont diversity, abundance and metabolic potential in three mussel species from the northern Gulf of Mexico: Bathymodiolus heckerae from the West Florida Escarpment, Bathymodiolus brooksi from Atwater Valley and Alaminos Canyon, and 'Bathymodiolus' childressi, which co-occurs with B. brooksi in Alaminos Canyon. Comparative 16S rRNA sequence analysis confirmed a single methanotroph-related symbiont in 'B.' childressi and a dual symbiosis with a methanotroph- and thiotroph-related symbiont in B. brooksi. A previously unknown diversity of four co-occurring symbionts was discovered in B. heckerae: a methanotroph, two phylogenetically distinct thiotrophs and a methylotroph-related phylotype not previously described from any marine invertebrate symbiosis. A gene characteristic of methane-oxidzing bacteria, pmoA, was identified in all three mussel species confirming the methanotrophic potential of their symbionts. Stable isotope analyses of lipids and whole tissue also confirmed the importance of methanotrophy in the carbon nutrition of all of the mussels. Analyses of absolute and relative symbiont abundance in B. heckerae and B. brooksi using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and rRNA slot blot hybridization indicated a clear dominance of methanotrophic over thiotrophic symbionts in their gill tissues. A site-dependent variability in total symbiont abundance was observed in B. brooksi, with specimens from Alaminos Canyon harbouring much lower densities than those from Atwater Valley. This shows that symbiont abundance is not species-specific but can vary considerably between populations.

  7. Calculating in situ degradation rates of hydrocarbon compounds in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Thessen, Anne E; North, Elizabeth W

    2017-09-15

    Biodegradation is an important process for hydrocarbon weathering that influences its fate and transport, yet little is known about in situ biodegradation rates of specific hydrocarbon compounds in the deep ocean. Using data collected in the Gulf of Mexico below 700m during and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we calculated first-order degradation rate constants for 49 hydrocarbons and inferred degradation rate constants for an additional 5 data-deficient hydrocarbons. Resulting calculated (not inferred) half-lives of the hydrocarbons ranged from 0.4 to 36.5days. The fastest degrading hydrocarbons were toluene (k=-1.716), methylcyclohexane (k=-1.538), benzene (k=-1.333), and C1-naphthalene (k=-1.305). The slowest degrading hydrocarbons were the large straight-chain alkanes, C-26 through C-33 (k=-0.0494 through k=-0.007). Ratios of C-18 to phytane supported the hypothesis that the primary means of degradation in the subsurface was microbial biodegradation. These degradation rate constants can be used to improve models describing the fate and transport of hydrocarbons in the event of an accidental deep ocean oil spill. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Establishing criteria to distinguish oil- from methane-seep carbonates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smrzka, Daniel; Zwicker, Jennifer; Bach, Wolfgang; Bohrmann, Gerhard; Peckmann, Jörn

    2016-04-01

    Hydrocarbon seeps harbor biota depending on chemosynthesis that is preserved in the fossil record as part of authigenic carbonate deposits. Seep environments are characterized by emanation of methane-rich fluids, yet an increasing number of seeps have been discovered in recent years that are typified by seepage of crude oil. Fluid composition is an important factor governing the composition and diversity of seep-dwelling fauna at modern seeps, as different species have differing tolerances and requirements with regard to the emitted compounds. In this regard, oil seepage has a profound influence on the diversity and distribution of seep-endemic macrofauna and microbial communities. Despite current efforts to better understand oil seeps and their ecology, the confident identification of oil seeps in the geologic record still poses fundamental problems. We present new geochemical data that allow for a more reliable identification of oil seepage during the Phanerozoic. Clear, fibrous aragonite cements of modern and putative ancient oil- and methane-seep deposits were analyzed for their rare earth element (REE) content. This cement is common in seep limestones and represents a product of the anaerobic oxidation of methane and higher hydrocarbons. Clear aragonite is particularly pure and virtually free of detrital inclusions, making it an ideal mineral for comparative geochemical analyses. Its REE composition reveals that oil-seep deposits are significantly enriched in REEs compared to methane- seep deposits. Furthermore, bulk total organic carbon (TOC) measurements suggest that modern and putative ancient oil seep carbonates are enriched in organic carbon. The combined data serve as a promising tool for identifying oil seepage in the fossil record. Our results provide the foundation for an improved understanding of the adaptation of chemosynthesis-based life to oil as an energy source.

  9. Stress and musculoskeletal discomfort among hydrocarbon industry workers in Mexico.

    PubMed

    Avila-Chaurand, R; Prado-León, L R; González-Muñoz, E L

    2012-01-01

    This study of 114 workers in the hydrocarbon industry was conducted to identify the relationship between stress and musculoskeletal discomfort, and to view the roles played by such factors as age, schooling, obesity, workplace and job seniority. All factors except seniority were found to affect the presence of musculoskeletal discomfort in some area of the body.

  10. HYDROCARBON AND CARBONYL OZONE PRECURSORS IN MEXICO CITY AMBIENT AIR

    EPA Science Inventory

    Urban air pollution is an environmental problem in many cities around the world that has serious immediate and long-term implications to the health of the population and to the physical environment. Mexico City, in particular, faces a severe air pollution problem. The city is...

  11. HYDROCARBON AND CARBONYL OZONE PRECURSORS IN MEXICO CITY AMBIENT AIR

    EPA Science Inventory

    Urban air pollution is an environmental problem in many cities around the world that has serious immediate and long-term implications to the health of the population and to the physical environment. Mexico City, in particular, faces a severe air pollution problem. The city is...

  12. Submarine seep of carbon dioxide in Norton Sound, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kvenvolden, K.A.; Weliky, K.; Nelson, H.; Des Marais, D.J.

    1979-01-01

    Earlier workers have described a submarine gas seep in Norton Sound having an unusual mixture of petroleum-like, low-molecular-weight hydrocarbons. Actually, only about 0.04 percent of the seeping gas is hydrocarbons and 98 percent is carbon dioxide. The isotopic compositions of carbon dioxide (??13CPDB = -2.7 per mil) and methane (??13CPDB = -36 per mil, where PDB is the Peedee belemnite standard) indicate that geothermal processes are active here. Copyright ?? 1979 AAAS.

  13. Estimates for biogenic non-methane hydrocarbons and nitric oxide emissions in the Valley of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Velasco, Erik

    Biogenic non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), 2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol (methylbutenol or MBO) and nitrogen oxide (NO) emissions were estimated for the Valley of Mexico developing a spatially and temporally resolved emission inventory for air quality models. The modeling domain includes all the Metropolitan Mexico City Area, the surrounding forests and agriculture fields. The estimates were based on several sources of land use and land cover data and a biogenic emission model; the biomass density and tree characteristics were obtained from reforestation program data. The biogenic emissions depend also on climatic conditions, mainly temperature and solar radiation. The temperature was obtained from a statistical revision of the last 10 yr data reported by the Mexico City Automatic Atmospheric Monitoring Network, while the solar radiation data were obtained from measurements performed in a typical oak forest in the Valley and from sources of total solar radiation data for Mexico City. The results indicated that 7% of total hydrocarbon emissions in Mexico Valley are due to vegetation and NO emissions from soil contribute with 1% to the total NO x emissions.

  14. U/Th dating of cold-seep carbonates: An initial comparison

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feng, Dong; Roberts, Harry H.; Cheng, Hai; Peckmann, Jörn; Bohrmann, Gerhard; Lawrence Edwards, R.; Chen, Duofu

    2010-11-01

    Authigenic carbonates from hydrocarbon seeps are unique archives of past seepage and associated environmental parameters. In order to constrain the ages of a set of seep carbonates and the time involved in carbonate formation, we applied Uranium/Thorium (U/Th) dating to samples from the Gulf of Mexico, the Congo Fan, and the Black Sea. The resulting U/Th ages indicate that environmental conditions must have been favorable for enhanced methane-rich fluid seepage during the time intervals of 53.4 to 1.7 ka BP for the Gulf of Mexico and 45.5 to 3.0 ka BP for the Congo Fan. The seep carbonates from the Black Sea formed at 1.6 to 1.1 ka BP. Our results suggest that enhanced fluid flow during these time intervals was closely related to 1) sea-level variations associated with glacial/interglacial cycles and 2) environmental alterations in the course of Late Quaternary climate change, including variations in bottom-water temperatures that affected the stability of gas hydrate reservoirs.

  15. Oil and gas seeps within Absaroka volcanics of northwestern Wyoming

    SciTech Connect

    Sundell, K.A.; Love, J.D.

    1986-08-01

    Three new occurrences of asphaltic, liquid, and gaseous hydrocarbons have been discovered in the southeastern Absaroka Range. These petroleum seeps are 40 to 110 mi southeast of previously known seeps within Eocene volcaniclastic rocks at Calcite Springs, Tower Junction, and Sweetwater Mineral Springs, Wyoming. The Middle Fork seep and Castle Rocks seep are near the headwaters of the Middle and North Forks of Owl Creek, respectively. The Chimney Rock asphalt locality is along the South Fork of the Wood River. Water samples from the Middle Fork seep fluoresce greenish-orange and contain 6 to 8 mg/L of extractable bituminous hydrocarbons. An iridescent oily film forms on the water surface and on abundant gas bubbles trapped within moss. The Castle Rocks seep, in Quaternary gravels along the bed of the North Fork of Owl Creek, shows iridescent oily bubbles in emerging spring water and black, sooty lenses of carbon-coated gravels in overlying dry deposits. The Middle Fork and Castle Rocks seeps rise through thin Quaternary deposits overlying the Aycross Formation (Eocene). The Chimney Rock asphalt locality is in a northwest-trending paleovalley fill consisting of highly deformed masses of volcanic strata in the Tepee Trail and Wiggins Formations. Thin (< 1 in. thick), discontinuous, subvertical veins of asphaltum cut through these rocks. These petroleum seeps demonstrate migration of hydrocarbons after the volcaniclastic strata were emplaced and suggest that significant petroleum resources may occur elsewhere within Eocene volcaniclastic rocks and/or within Mesozoic and Paleozoic reservoirs beneath the volcanics.

  16. Chemistry and mineralogy of pyrite-enriched sediments at a passive margin sulfide brine seep: abyssal Gulf of Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Commeau, R.F.; Paull, C.K.; Commeau, J.A.; Poppe, L.J.

    1987-01-01

    Pyrite is rapidly accumulating at the contact between the Cretaceous limestones of the Florida Platform and the hemipelagic sediments of the abyssal Gulf of Mexico. Sediments sampled with the submersible "Alvin" in 3266 m of water are associated with a dense community of organisms that depend on chemosynthetic primary production as a food source. Analysis of the chemistry, mineralogy, and textural composition of these sediments indicate that iron sulfide mineralization is occurring at the seafloor within an anoxic micro-habitat sustained by the advection of hydrogen sulfide-charged saline brines from the adjacent platform. The chemosynthetic bacteria that directly overlie the sediments oxidize hydrogen sulfide for energy and provide elemental sulfur that reacts with iron monosulfide to form some of the pyrite. The sediments are mixtures of pyrite (??? 30 wt.%), BaSr sulfates (??? 4 wt.%), clays, and locally derived biogenic carbonates and are progressively being cemented by iron sulfides. Oxidation of hydrogen sulfide produces locally acidic conditions that corrode the adjacent limestones. Potential sources of S, H2S, Fe, Ba, and Sr are discussed. ?? 1987.

  17. Research Spotlight: Toxic hydrocarbons measured in Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kumar, Mohi; Tretkoff, Ernie

    Oil contains compounds known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which can be toxic. These compounds were released into the water during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which was larger than any previously studied release of oil. The impacts of the oil spill on marine life are not yet certain. Diercks et al. present initial observations of the distributions of PAH in subsurface water near the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

  18. The Importance of Chemosynthetic Communities and 'Seep-Hunting' to Deepwater Oil and Gas Exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McConnell, D.; Gharib, J. J.; Orange, D.; Henderson, J.; Danque, H.; Digby, A.

    2007-12-01

    Seafloor surveying techniques have often evolved as the industry's needs have evolved. Oil and gas exploration costs have escalated over the last several years, both as a result of increasing offshore overhead costs as well as the increased demand being met by offshore service-related companies. Consequently, more companies are prospecting using inexpensive techniques that rely on scientific expertise, such as seep-hunting, as a means of identifying reservoirs, and the past few years have seen several large-scale industrial deepwater surveys with locating hydrocarbon seeps as a primary goal. The identification of seeps is also a necessity for many pre-drilling operations, as many potential developers must conform to local regulations protecting chemosynthetic communities (eg MMS NTL 2000-G20 for Gulf of Mexico development). In addition to identifying chemosynthetic communities for permitting issues, as prospecting has moved into deeper water the ability to identify seep-related drilling hazards, such as hardgrounds or shallow gas (and hydrates) has also increased in importance. The specialized field of identifying seeps, and related chemosynthetics, hardgrounds, etc., is rapidly growing, aided by advances in mapping technology, such as multibeam backscatter and interferometry, among others. Today all of the geophysical data can be brought into a common interpretation environment providing multiple perspectives, different data overlays, and/or 3D visualizations. Using these techniques, high resolution multibeam and/or side-scan surveys rapidly cover large swaths of seafloor and identify potential seeps in real- time. These targets can then be examined geochemically with a coring program, potentially working simultaneously with the multibeam program. Modern USBL navigation can position a deepwater core in <10m diameter targets. Much of the geochemistry can be analyzed in near-real time at sea (eg headspace/interstitial gas, trace/minor/major ions in porefluids, etc

  19. Influence of parasitism in controlling the health, reproduction and PAH body burden of petroleum seep mussels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Powell, Eric N.; Barber, Robert D.; Kennicutt, Mahlon C., II; Ford, Susan E.

    1999-12-01

    Petroleum seep mussels are often exposed to high hydrocarbon concentrations in their natural habitat and, thus, offer the opportunity to examine the relationship between parasitism, disease and contaminant exposure under natural conditions. This is the first report on the histopathology of cold-seep mussels. Seep mussels were collected by submersible from four primary sites in the Gulf of Mexico, lease blocks Green Canyon (GC) 184, GC-234, GC-233, and Garden Banks 425 in 550-650 m water depth. Five types of parasites were identified in section: (1) gill "rosettes" of unknown affinity associated with the gill bacteriocytes, (2) gill "inclusions" similar to chlamydia/rickettsia inclusions, (3) extracellular gill ciliates, (4) body "inclusions" that also resemble chlamydial/rickettsial inclusions, and (5) Bucephalus-like trematodes. Comparison to shallow-water mytilids demonstrates that: (1) both have similar parasite faunas; (2) seep mytilids are relatively heavily parasitized; and (3) infection intensities are extremely high in comparison to shallow-water mytilids for Bucephalus and chlamydia/rickettsia. In this study, the lowest prevalence for chlamydia/rickettsia was 67%. Prevalences of 100% were recorded from three populations. Bucephalus prevalence was ⩾70% in three of 10 populations. The parasite fauna was highly variable between populations. Some important parasites were not observed in some primary sites. Even within primary sites, some important parasites were not observed in some populations. Bucephalus may exert a significant influence on seep mussel population dynamics. Forty percent of the populations in this study are severely reproductively compromised by Bucephalus infection. Only a fraction of petroleum seep mussel populations are maintaining the entire beta-level population structure of this species. Variation in two parasites, gill ciliates and Bucephalus, explained most of the variation in PAH body burden between mussel populations. PAHs are

  20. {Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and aliphatic hydrocarbons in gas and particle phases in two sites of Mexico: MILAGRO project}

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amador-Muñoz, O.; Villalobos-Pietrini, R.; Castro, T.; Gaspariano-Larino, R.

    2009-04-01

    Aliphatic hydrocarbons are markers of anthropogenic and biogenic emission sources1; meanwhile PAHs are generated by incomplete combustion sources2. The last ones are important compounds due to their carcinogenic and mutagenic properties3,4. The aim of this study was to identify and quantify aliphatic hydrocarbons and PAHs in gas and particles phases of the atmospheric aerosol and to determine the day and night time behavior during the MILAGRO (Megacity Initiative: Local Global and Research Observations) campaign. The gas phase was collected on polyurethane foam, while particles less than 2.5 m (PM2.5) were collected on glass fiber filters covered with Teflon (TIGF, pallflex) of 8x10 in. Samplings were carried out with a high volume sampler (Tisch) with a flow of 1.13 m3 min-1 at two sites: Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo (T0) and Tecamac (T1) located at North and Northeast of Mexico City, respectively during day (7:00 am-7:00 pm) and night time (7:00 pm-7:00 am) from 1 to 29 of March, 2006. Ninteen PAHs and 23 aliphatic hydrocarbons from n-C13H28 to n-C35H72 were analyzed by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry in impact mode. The samples were spiked with deuterads PAHs and aliphatics hydrocarbons before ultrasound extraction. Medians comparisons were made with Mann-Whitney U test. PAHs with molecular weight (MW) less than 228 g mol-1 were distributed in the gas phase, in both sites. Higher concentrations of PAHs ≥ 228 g mol-1 in PM2.5, were observed during night period (p

  1. Interaction between hydrocarbon seepage, chemosynthetic communities and bottom water redox at cold seeps of the Makran accretionary prism: insights from habitat-specific pore water sampling and modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fischer, D.; Sahling, H.; Nöthen, K.; Bohrmann, G.; Zabel, M.; Kasten, S.

    2011-09-01

    The interaction between fluid seepage, bottom water redox, and chemosynthetic communities was studied at cold seeps across one of the world's largest oxygen minimum zones (OMZ) located at the Makran convergent continental margin. Push cores were obtained from seeps within and at the lower boundary of the core-OMZ with a remotely operated vehicle. Extracted pore water was analyzed for sulfide and sulfate contents. Depending on oxygen availability, seeps were either colonized by microbial mats or by mats and macrofauna. The latter, including ampharetid polychaetes and vesicomyid clams, occurred in distinct benthic habitats which were arranged in a concentric fashion around gas orifices. At most sites colonized by microbial mats, hydrogen sulfide was exported into the bottom water. Where macrofauna was widely abundant, hydrogen sulfide was consumed within the sediment. Numerical modeling of pore water profiles was performed in order to assess rates of fluid advection and bioirrigation. While the magnitude of upward fluid flow decreased from 11 cm yr-1 to <1 cm yr-1 and the sulfate/methane transition zone (SMTZ) deepened with increasing distance from the central gas orifice, the fluxes of sulfate into the SMTZ did not significantly differ (6.6-9.3 mol m-2 yr-1). Depth-integrated rates of bioirrigation increased from 162 cm yr-1 in central habitats characterized by microbial mats and sparse macrofauna to 348 cm yr-1 in habitats of large and small vesicomyid clams. These results reveal that chemosynthetic macrofauna inhabiting the outer seep habitats at the lower boundary of the OMZ efficiently bioirrigate and thus transport sulfate into the upper 10 to 15 cm of the sediment. In this way bioirrigation compensates for the lower upward flux of methane in outer habitats and stimulates rates of anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) with sulfate high enough to provide sulfide for chemosynthesis. Through bioirrigation macrofauna engineer their geochemical environment and fuel

  2. Hydrocarbon concentrations in the American oyster, Crassostrea virginica, in Laguna de Terminos, Campeche, Mexico

    SciTech Connect

    Gold-Bouchot, G.; Norena-Barroso, E.; Zapata-Perez, O.

    1995-02-01

    Laguna de Terminos is a 2,500 km{sup 2} coastal lagoon in the southern Gulf of Mexico, located between 18{degrees} 20` and 19{degrees} 00` N, and 91{degrees} 00` and 92{degrees} 20` W (Figure 1). It is a shallow lagoon, with a mean depth of 3.5 m and connected to the Gulf of Mexico through two permanent inlets, Puerto Real to the east and Carmen to the west. Several rivers, most of them from the Grijalva-Usumacinta basin (the largest in Mexico and second largest in the Gulf of Mexico), drain into the lagoon with a mean annual discharge of 6 X 10{sup 9} m{sup 3}/year. This lagoon has been studied systematically, and is probably one of the best known in Mexico. An excellent overview of this lagoon can be found in Yanez-Arancibia and Day. The continental shelf north of Terminos, the Campeche Bank, is the main oil-producing zone in Mexico with a production of about 2 X 10{sup 6} barrels/day. It is also the main shrimp producer in the southern Gulf, with a mean annual catch of 18,000 tonnes/year, which represents 38 to 50% of the national catch in the Gulf of Mexico. The economic importance of this region, along with its extremely high biodiversity, both in terms of species and habitats, has prompted the Mexican government to study the creation of a wildlife refuge around Terminos. Thus, it is very important to know the current levels of pollutants in this area, as a contribution to the management plan of the proposed protected area. This paper looks at hydrocarbon concentrations in oyster tissue. 14 refs., 3 figs., 21 tabs.

  3. Petroleum hydrocarbons in sediment from the northern Gulf of Mexico shoreline, Texas to Florida

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rosenbauer, Robert J.; Campbell, Pamela L.; Lam, Angela; Lorenson, T.D.; Hostettler, Frances D.; Thomas, Burt; Wong, Florence L.

    2011-01-01

    Petroleum hydrocarbons were extracted and analyzed from shoreline sediment collected from the northern Gulf of Mexico (nGOM) coastline that could potentially be impacted by Macondo-1 (M-1) well oil. Sediment was collected before M-1 well oil made significant local landfall and analyzed for baseline conditions by a suite of diagnostic petroleum biomarkers. Oil residue in trace quantities was detected in 45 of 69 samples. With the aid of multivariate statistical analysis, three different oil groups, based on biomarker similarity, were identified that were distributed geographically along the nGOM from Texas to Florida. None of the sediment hydrocarbon extracts correlated with the M-1 well oil extract, however, the similarity of tarballs collected at one site (FL-18) with the M-1 well oil suggests that some oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill may have been transported to this site in the Florida Keys, perhaps by a loop current, before that site was sampled.

  4. Upper Permian (Guadalupian) facies and their association with hydrocarbons - Permian basin, west Texas and New Mexico

    SciTech Connect

    Ward, R.F.; Kendall, C.G.S.C.; Harris, P.M.

    1986-03-01

    Outcrops of Guadalupian sedimentary rocks in the Permian basin of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico are a classic example of the facies relationships that span a carbonate shelf. In the subsurface, these rocks form classic hydrocarbon-facies taps. Proceeding from basin to the updip termination of the shelf, the facies are (1) deep-water basin, (2) an apron of allochthonous carbonates, (3) carbonate shelf margin or reef, (4) carbonate sand flats, (5) carbonate barrier islands, (6) lagoon, and (7) coastal playas and supratidal salt flats (sabkhas). Over a half century of exploration drilling has shown that hydrocarbons in the Permian rocks of the Permian basin have accumulated at the updip contact of the lagoonal dolomites and clastics with the coastal evaporites, and in the basinal channel-fill clastics. The shelf marginal (reef) facies contain cavernous porosity, but commonly are water saturated. These facies relationships and hydrocarbon occurrences provide an exploration model with which to explore and rank hydrocarbon potential in other carbonate provinces. 16 figures, 3 tables.

  5. Pollution by petroleum hydrocarbons in sediments from continental shelf of Tabasco State, Mexico

    SciTech Connect

    Botello, A.V.; Gonzalez, C.; Diaz, G. )

    1991-10-01

    The Wider Caribbean is potentially one of the largest oil producing areas in the world. Major petroleum production areas include Louisiana and Texas, USA; the Bay of Campeche, Mexico; Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela; and Gulf of Paria, Trinidad; all of which are classified as production accident high-risk zones. About 5 million of barrels are transported every day in the Caribbean, thus generating an intense tanker traffic. It has been estimated that oil discharges from tank washings within the Wider Caribbean could be as high as 7 million barrels/year. For all those reasons petroleum pollution is considered as the major environmental problem in the Wider Caribbean area and increasing day to day due to the use of petroleum as the main energy source. On the other hand, the continental shelf of Tabasco state actually represents one of the most productive areas for crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Sediments were collected from this area and analyzed for hydrocarbons.

  6. Sources of fluids and gases expelled at cold seeps offshore Georgia, eastern Black Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reitz, Anja; Pape, Thomas; Haeckel, Matthias; Schmidt, Mark; Berner, Ulrich; Scholz, Florian; Liebetrau, Volker; Aloisi, Giovanni; Weise, Stephan M.; Wallmann, Klaus

    2011-06-01

    Four seep sites located within an ˜20 km 2 area offshore Georgia (Batumi seep area, Pechori Mound, Iberia Mound, and Colkheti Seep) show characteristic differences with respect to element concentrations, and oxygen, hydrogen, strontium, and chlorine isotope signatures in pore waters, as well as impregnation of sediments with petroleum and hydrocarbon potential. All seep sites have active gas seepage, near surface authigenic carbonates and gas hydrates. Cokheti Seep, Iberia Mound, and Pechori Mound are characterized by oil-stained sediments and gas seepage decoupled from deep fluid advection and bottom water intrusion induced by gas bubble release. Pechori Mound is further characterized by deep fluid advection of lower salinity pore fluids. The Pechori Mound pore fluids are altered by mineral/water reactions at elevated temperatures (between 60 and 110 °C) indicated by heavier oxygen and lighter chlorine isotope values, distinct Li and B enrichment, and K depletion. Strontium isotope ratios indicate that fluids originate from late Oligocene strata. This finding is supported by the occurrence of hydrocarbon impregnations within the sediments. Furthermore, light hydrocarbons and high molecular weight impregnates indicate a predominant thermogenic origin for the gas and oil at Pechori Mound, Iberia Mound, and Colkheti Seep. C 15+ hydrocarbons at the oil seeps are allochtonous, whereas those at the Batumi seep area are autochthonous. The presence of oleanane, an angiosperm biomarker, suggests that the hydrocarbon source rocks belong to the Maikopian Formation. In summary, all investigated seep sites show a high hydrocarbon potential and hydrocarbons of Iberia Mound, Colkheti Seep, and Pechori Mound are predominantly of thermogenic origin. However, only at the latter seep site advection of deep pore fluids is indicated.

  7. Spatial scales of bacterial community diversity at cold seeps (Eastern Mediterranean Sea).

    PubMed

    Pop Ristova, Petra; Wenzhöfer, Frank; Ramette, Alban; Felden, Janine; Boetius, Antje

    2015-06-01

    Cold seeps are highly productive, fragmented marine ecosystems that form at the seafloor around hydrocarbon emission pathways. The products of microbial utilization of methane and other hydrocarbons fuel rich chemosynthetic communities at these sites, with much higher respiration rates compared with the surrounding deep-sea floor. Yet little is known as to the richness, composition and spatial scaling of bacterial communities of cold seeps compared with non-seep communities. Here we assessed the bacterial diversity across nine different cold seeps in the Eastern Mediterranean deep-sea and surrounding seafloor areas. Community similarity analyses were carried out based on automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) fingerprinting and high-throughput 454 tag sequencing and were combined with in situ and ex situ geochemical analyses across spatial scales of a few tens of meters to hundreds of kilometers. Seep communities were dominated by Deltaproteobacteria, Epsilonproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria and shared, on average, 36% of bacterial types (ARISA OTUs (operational taxonomic units)) with communities from nearby non-seep deep-sea sediments. Bacterial communities of seeps were significantly different from those of non-seep sediments. Within cold seep regions on spatial scales of only tens to hundreds of meters, the bacterial communities differed considerably, sharing <50% of types at the ARISA OTU level. Their variations reflected differences in porewater sulfide concentrations from anaerobic degradation of hydrocarbons. This study shows that cold seep ecosystems contribute substantially to the microbial diversity of the deep-sea.

  8. Spatial scales of bacterial community diversity at cold seeps (Eastern Mediterranean Sea)

    PubMed Central

    Pop Ristova, Petra; Wenzhöfer, Frank; Ramette, Alban; Felden, Janine; Boetius, Antje

    2015-01-01

    Cold seeps are highly productive, fragmented marine ecosystems that form at the seafloor around hydrocarbon emission pathways. The products of microbial utilization of methane and other hydrocarbons fuel rich chemosynthetic communities at these sites, with much higher respiration rates compared with the surrounding deep-sea floor. Yet little is known as to the richness, composition and spatial scaling of bacterial communities of cold seeps compared with non-seep communities. Here we assessed the bacterial diversity across nine different cold seeps in the Eastern Mediterranean deep-sea and surrounding seafloor areas. Community similarity analyses were carried out based on automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) fingerprinting and high-throughput 454 tag sequencing and were combined with in situ and ex situ geochemical analyses across spatial scales of a few tens of meters to hundreds of kilometers. Seep communities were dominated by Deltaproteobacteria, Epsilonproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria and shared, on average, 36% of bacterial types (ARISA OTUs (operational taxonomic units)) with communities from nearby non-seep deep-sea sediments. Bacterial communities of seeps were significantly different from those of non-seep sediments. Within cold seep regions on spatial scales of only tens to hundreds of meters, the bacterial communities differed considerably, sharing <50% of types at the ARISA OTU level. Their variations reflected differences in porewater sulfide concentrations from anaerobic degradation of hydrocarbons. This study shows that cold seep ecosystems contribute substantially to the microbial diversity of the deep-sea. PMID:25500510

  9. Presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in top soils from rural terrains in Mexico City.

    PubMed

    Ortiz, Rutilio; Vega, Salvador; Gutiérrez, Rey; Gibson, Richard; Schettino, Beatriz; Ramirez, María de Lourdes

    2012-03-01

    A soil survey was carried out to determine the levels and sources and concentrations of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in 2 semi-rural terrains in Mexico City (Tlahuac and Milpa Alta) during 2008-2009. PAH determination was made by Soxhlet extraction and chromatographic clean-up with final analysis by gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector. The concentrations in Tlahuac were 9.13 mg/kg (dry season) and 11.22 mg/kg (wet season) and in Milpa Alta were 11.43 mg/kg (dry season) and 35.77 mg/kg (wet season). The variation of total PAH concentrations are due to environmental and anthropogenic conditions within Mexico City and also the addition of compost to the soils. According to Mexican regulations BaP, DaA, BbF and Ind were within the permissible limit (2 mg/kg) for agricultural and residential soils and BkF was close to the limit (8 mg/kg). The total PAH concentrations do however surpass the permissible European limit of 1,000 μg/kg and there is probably some risk to human health, in spite of measures aimed at decreasing contamination in Mexico City. Long term monitoring of soils will be necessary.

  10. A sea floor observatory for studying the hydrocarbon system within the gas hydrate stability zone of the northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woolsey, J.; McGee, T.; Lutken, C.; Geresi, E.

    2003-04-01

    A presentation at the Oceans 98 Conference in Nice described a then newly initiated program to install a net of acoustic vertical line arrays (VLAs) on the continental slope of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Since then, the project has evolved into the development of a multi-sensor sea floor observatory that incorporates geochemical as well as geophysical systems. Some of these systems, including a prototype VLA, have been successfully tested and others are in final stages of development. Initial deployment is expected in 2004 with full operations to begin in 2005. The observatory is designed to provide long term, more-or-less continuous monitoring of conditions in the lower water column and sub-bottom sediments proximal to and within the hydrate stability zone (HSZ). The primary purpose is to promote a better understanding of the complex interactions which take place therein with the near-seabed hydrocarbon system. The manifestations of this complex system are the hydrate bodies, massive and surficial; mud, sand and brine seeps and flows; gas vents, quiescent to vigorous and chemosynthetic biological communities. The complexity of the HSZ, its various features and phenomena, relates to the instability of the zone itself; superimposed over an irregular, unstable salt sheet, permeated by migrating hydrocarbon and other fluids, subjected to ubiquitous seismicity, active fault zones, and the effects of transiting warm loop currents. Under these various conditions hydrates form and dissociate with relative rapidity and gas is expelled into the water column in variable amounts at irregular intervals. The particular instability of hydrates and proximal fault zones with venting gas represent significant geohazards to bottom-founded installations typical of deep conventional oil and gas production. The latter also contributes substantial quantities of hydrocarbon gases to the water column and eventually to the atmosphere as green house gases. These real concerns provide

  11. Hydrocarbons derived from petroleum in bottled drinking water from Mexico City.

    PubMed

    Vega, Salvador; Gutiérrez, Rey; Ortiz, Rutilio; Schettino, Beatriz; Ramírez, Maria de Lourdes; Pérez, José Jesus

    2011-06-01

    This paper describes the concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and aliphatic hydrocarbons (AHs) derived from petroleum in bottled drinking water samples that were collected over 1 year from Mexico City in two bottle sizes (1.5 and 19 L), all brought in supermarkets. The analysis was by gas chromatography with flame ionization detection. -Concentrations of AHs (9.26-1.74 μg/L) were greater than PAHs (20.15-12.78 ng/L). Individual concentrations of PAHs such as fluoranthene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene and benzo(ghi)perylene were comparable with data reported by the World Health Organization (WHO). Total concentrations of PAHs for all samples (BDW1: 12.78 μg/L, BDW2: 16.72 μg/L, BDW3: 14.62 μg/L, BDW4: 20.15 μg/L and BDW5: 13.23 ng/L) were below the maximum permissible European level of 100 ng/L; no regulations exist for AHs although their values were greater than PAHs (BDW1: 3.11 μg/L, BDW2: 8.45 μg/L, BDW3: 1.74 μg/L, BDW4: 4.75 μg/L and BDW5: 9.26 μg/L).

  12. Exploratory study of particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in different environments of Mexico City

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Velasco, Erik; Siegmann, Philip; Siegmann, Hans C.

    2004-09-01

    Several studies regarding particulate matter in air pollution have been performed in Mexico City, but none have focused on environment exposure to particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PPAH), which are related to the occurrence of cardiopulmonary diseases and mortality. On this account, this study presents measurements of personal exposure to PPAH in different outdoor and indoor environments, as well as along roadways in Mexico City. The measurements were done with portable sensors based on photoelectric charging and diffusion charging to determine the PPAH concentrations and the joint active surface of all particles, respectively. The use of these two sensors in parallel is a useful tool to qualitatively identify the major sources and to describe the physical and chemical characteristics of the particles. The highest exposures were found in ambient air near traffic sources, mainly at sites with great influence of diesel vehicles, such as urban transfer bus stations. Roadway measurements showed that Mexican PPAH pollution levels are between those in large cities in Europe and USA. For indoor environments such as residences, shopping centers, restaurants and hospitality venues, it was found that secondhand smoke is the major contributor, however badly calibrated pilot stoves, inefficient ventilation and faulty air-conditioning systems can be additional sources of PPAH.

  13. Volatile liquid hydrocarbons in waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea

    SciTech Connect

    Sauer, T.C. Jr.

    1980-03-01

    Concentrations of volatile liquid hydrocarbons (VLH), C/sub 6/-C/sub 14/ hydrocarbons, were determined in 1977 in coastal, shelf, and open-ocean surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. In open-ocean, nonpetroleum-polluted surface water, VLH concentrations were 60 ng.liter/sup -1/ while in heavily polluted Louisiana shelf and coastal water values reached 500 ng.liter/sup -1/. Caribbean surface samples had very low concentrations, 30 ng.liter/sup -1/. The relationship between anthropogenic gaseous hydrocarbons and VLH was approximately linear. Aromatic VLH accounted for 60 to 85% of the total VLH in surface waters. Cycloalkane concentrations were < 1.0 ng.liter/sup -1/ in open ocean water, 60 to 100 ng.liter/sup -1/ in polluted water (20% of total VLH). Alkanes were 15 ng.liter/sup -1/ in open ocean water, 40 ng.liter/sup -1/ in polluted water. The concentrations of five major VLH compounds (aromatics) in water samples - benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, m/sup -/, p-xylenes, and o-xylene (called BTX) - were sufficient to predict the total VLH. The empirically determined relationship is VLH (ng.liter/sup -1/) = 1.42 BTX (ng.liter/sup -1/); r = 0.96. Subsurface VLH concentrations in samples of polluted waters collected from depths of 50 m were only 35 to 40 ng.liter/sup -1/ below surface concentrations. Open ocean subsurface samples had concentrations of only 30 ng.liter/sup -1/ at 30 to 50-m depths, comparable to those of Caribbean surface water.

  14. Comprehensive Chemical Characterization of Hydrocarbons in NIST Standard Reference Material 2779 Gulf of Mexico Crude Oil.

    PubMed

    Worton, David R; Zhang, Haofei; Isaacman-VanWertz, Gabriel; Chan, Arthur W H; Wilson, Kevin R; Goldstein, Allen H

    2015-11-17

    Comprehensive chemical information is needed to understand the environmental fate and impact of hydrocarbons released during oil spills. However, chemical information remains incomplete because of the limitations of current analytical techniques and the inherent chemical complexity of crude oils. In this work, gas chromatography (GC)-amenable C9-C33 hydrocarbons were comprehensively characterized from the National Institute of Standards and Technology Standard Reference Material (NIST SRM) 2779 Gulf of Mexico crude oil by GC coupled to vacuum ultraviolet photoionization mass spectrometry (GC/VUV-MS), with a mass balance of 68 ± 22%. This technique overcomes one important limitation faced by traditional GC and even comprehensive 2D gas chromatography (GC×GC): the necessity for individual compounds to be chromatographically resolved from one another in order to be characterized. VUV photoionization minimizes fragmentation of the molecular ions, facilitating the characterization of the observed hydrocarbons as a function of molecular weight (carbon number, NC), structure (number of double bond equivalents, NDBE), and mass fraction (mg kg(-1)), which represent important metrics for understanding their fate and environmental impacts. Linear alkanes (8 ± 1%), branched alkanes (11 ± 2%), and cycloalkanes (37 ± 12%) dominated the mass with the largest contribution from cycloalkanes containing one or two rings and one or more alkyl side chains (27 ± 9%). Linearity and good agreement with previous work for a subset of >100 components and for the sum of compound classes provided confidence in our measurements and represents the first independent assessment of our analytical approach and calibration methodology. Another crude oil collected from the Marlin platform (35 km northeast of the Macondo well) was shown to be chemically identical within experimental errors to NIST SRM 2779, demonstrating that Marlin crude is an appropriate surrogate oil for researchers conducting

  15. Particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon spatial variability and aging in Mexico City

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thornhill, D. A.; Herndon, S. C.; Onasch, T. B.; Wood, E. C.; Zavala, M.; Molina, L. T.; Gaffney, J. S.; Marley, N. A.; Marr, L. C.

    2007-11-01

    As part of the Megacities Initiative: Local and Global Research Observations (MILAGRO) study in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area in March 2006, we measured particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other gaseous species and particulate properties at six locations throughout the city. The measurements were intended to support the following objectives: to describe spatial and temporal patterns in PAH concentrations, to gain insight into sources and transformations of PAHs, and to quantify the relationships between PAHs and other pollutants. Total particulate PAHs at the Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo (T0 supersite) located near downtown averaged 50 ng m-3, and aerosol active surface area averaged 80 mm2 m-3. PAHs were also measured on board the Aerodyne Mobile Laboratory, which visited six sites encompassing a mixture of different land uses and a range of ages of air parcels transported from the city core. Weak intersite correlations suggest that local sources are important and variable and that exposure to PAHs cannot be represented by a single regional-scale value. The relationships between PAHs and other pollutants suggest that a variety of sources and ages of particles are present. Among carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon dioxide, particulate PAHs are most strongly correlated with NOx. Mexico City's PAH-to-black carbon mass ratio of 0.01 is similar to that found on a freeway loop in the Los Angeles area and approximately 8-30 times higher than that found in other cities. Ratios also indicate that primary combustion particles are rapidly coated by secondary aerosol in Mexico City. If so, the lifetime of PAHs may be prolonged if the coating protects them against photodegradation or heterogeneous reactions.

  16. NASA and SEEP

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lynch, John T.

    In the recent news note by R. E. Hartle entitled ‘Detecting Electron Precipitation’ (Eos, March 22, 1983, p. 114), it is staled that NASA performed an experiment ‘similar’ to the Navy's Stimulated Emission of Energetic Particles (SEEP) satellite program using sounding rocket X ray detectors. The NASA effort was actually a cooperative part of the SEEP program that was, with the exception of the two small NASA rockets, sponsored entirely by the Office of Naval Research. The SEEP program originated at Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory and Stanford University and was well along before Dr. Goldberg at Goddard Space Flight Center and his coinvestigators at Cornell and the University of Denver were invited to participate.

  17. Lessons in microbial geochemistry from the Coal Oil Point seep field: progress as prospects.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valentine, D. L.; Kinnaman, F.; Wardlaw, G.; Redmond, M.; Ding, H.; Kimball, J.; Busso, L.; Larson, A.

    2005-12-01

    The hydrocarbon seeps located offshore Coal Oil Point, Santa Barbara, CA, are estimated to emit 1010 grams of methane and 50 thousand barrels of oil annually, and are among the most prolific in the world. The seep field spans a range of shelf depths and many of the seeps are accessible by SCUBA, making this an ideal location to investigate the impact of microbes on the biogeochemical cycling of methane and other hydrocarbons. With funding provided by the National Science Foundation, the Minerals Management Service and the Petroleum Research Fund, we have begun to investigate the interactions between microbes, hydrocarbon distributions, and environmental dynamics in the seep environment. This presentation will provide an overview of Coal Oil Point seep field and the biogeochemical research being conducted there. Several topics will be incorporated including i) the dynamics of oil and gas seepage, ii) the microbial consumption of methane, ethane, propane, butane and crude oil, iii) the distribution and composition of microbial mats, iv) redox differentiation in seep sediments and the importance of advection, and v) the development of experimental tools for the investigation of seep environments. Prospects for future biochemical research in the Coal Oil Point seep field will also be discussed.

  18. SHEEP CREEK SEEP CHARACTERIZATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    The materials presented represent an assessment of site conditions related to the LaCrone property seep, located in the NW 1/4 of Section 34, Township 7E, Range 2N, near Harden City, OK. The primary objective of the study was to identify possible source(s) for the saline water, ...

  19. SHEEP CREEK SEEP CHARACTERIZATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    The materials presented represent an assessment of site conditions related to the LaCrone property seep, located in the NW 1/4 of Section 34, Township 7E, Range 2N, near Harden City, OK. The primary objective of the study was to identify possible source(s) for the saline water, ...

  20. Chronostratigraphic hydrocarbon plays and depositional styles in the northern Gulf of Mexico

    SciTech Connect

    Seni, S.J.; Brooke, J.; Marin, D.

    1995-10-01

    Sand-body reservoirs in the Federal OCS of the northern Gulf of Mexico were classified into 98 chronostratigraphic plays by style, structural style, and engineering parameters. Cumulative gas production is apportioned to three primary depositional styles: progradational (65%), submarine fan (16%), and aggradational (12%). In contrast, cumulative oil production is distributed primarily as progradational (58%), aggradational (23%), and submarine fan (16%). On the continental shelf, progradational environments are hydrocarbon rich owing to favorable sandstone-to-shale ratios and traps over salt structures and faulted anticlines. Submarine fan plays dominate downdip of the modern shelf edge. Remaining recoverable gas reserves for progradational (48%), submarine fan (28%), and aggradational (16%) reveal a decline of progradational plays and an increase of submarine fan plays. Average porosity varies between fan plays (26%), progradational plays (29%), and aggradational or retrogradational plays (28%) (statistical significance, 85% to 98%), in part as a function of play depth, which is greatest for submarine fan plays (11,631 ft). Average pay thickness of fan (45 ft) and retrogradational (34 ft) plays is higher than that of aggradational and progradational plays (31 ft) (statistical significance, 85% to 99%). Proved hydrocarbons are unequally distributed within chronozones in the Gulf. Forty-two percent of the original recoverable oil is concentrated in two chronozones-the lower Pleistocene Lenticulina 1 to Buliminella 1 (22.8%) and the upper Miocene Bigeneria A to Cristellaria K (20.4%). Gas is more uniformly distributed. Of the original recoverable gas, 29% exists in two chronozones-the lower Pleistocene Lenticulina 1 to Valvulina H (18.6%) and the upper Pleistocene Hyalinea balithica to Sangamon (10.6%). New discoveries will probably be made in submarine fan plays in Pleistocene to Miocene strata on the slope and in Miocene and older fan facies on the shelf.

  1. Succession of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria in the aftermath of the deepwater horizon oil spill in the gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Dubinsky, Eric A; Conrad, Mark E; Chakraborty, Romy; Bill, Markus; Borglin, Sharon E; Hollibaugh, James T; Mason, Olivia U; M Piceno, Yvette; Reid, Francine C; Stringfellow, William T; Tom, Lauren M; Hazen, Terry C; Andersen, Gary L

    2013-10-01

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill produced large subsurface plumes of dispersed oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico that stimulated growth of psychrophilic, hydrocarbon degrading bacteria. We tracked succession of plume bacteria before, during and after the 83-day spill to determine the microbial response and biodegradation potential throughout the incident. Dominant bacteria shifted substantially over time and were dependent on relative quantities of different hydrocarbon fractions. Unmitigated flow from the wellhead early in the spill resulted in the highest proportions of n-alkanes and cycloalkanes at depth and corresponded with dominance by Oceanospirillaceae and Pseudomonas. Once partial capture of oil and gas began 43 days into the spill, petroleum hydrocarbons decreased, the fraction of aromatic hydrocarbons increased, and Colwellia, Cycloclasticus, and Pseudoalteromonas increased in dominance. Enrichment of Methylomonas coincided with positive shifts in the δ(13)C values of methane in the plume and indicated significant methane oxidation occurred earlier than previously reported. Anomalous oxygen depressions persisted at plume depths for over six weeks after well shut-in and were likely caused by common marine heterotrophs associated with degradation of high-molecular-weight organic matter, including Methylophaga. Multiple hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria operated simultaneously throughout the spill, but their relative importance was controlled by changes in hydrocarbon supply.

  2. Petrography and geochemistry of barite chimneys associated with hydrocarbon vents on the Gulf of Mexico slope

    SciTech Connect

    Fu, B.

    1995-10-01

    Barite chimneys up to 30 cm high were recently documented and recovered from hydrocarbon venting areas on the Louisiana Slope in the Gulf of Mexico in water depths of 510-520 m. The chimneys are dominated by barite (BaSO{sub 4}) associated with minor amounts of pyrite, iron oxide, Mg-calcite, and detrital silicates. The barites display distinct string-like and dendritic-like morphologies assembled from rosette assemblages that are typically 20 to 40 {mu}m in diameter. The interiors of chimneys, exhibit macroscopic growth layers 1 to 5 mm thick which alternate between dark-gray and light-yellow colors. Compared with barites from hydrothermal, marine, and continental settings, the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) barites are more enriched in Sr(average 15.5 mol% and maximum 30 mol%) and Ca(average 2.8 mol% and maximum 4.6 mol%). Backscatter images and electron microprobe traverse analyses indicate that most barite crystals exhibit rhythmic chemical zonations because of the variation of concentrations of Sr and Ca. The {delta}{sup 34}S(from 20.30 to 28.87{per_thousand}) and {delta}{sup 18}O(from 9.5 to 13.6{per_thousand}) of GOM barites suggest that the barite chimneys may form at or above the sediment-water interface from Ba-, Sr-, and Ca-rich formation fluids dissolving the underlying Jurassic-age salt and mixing with sulfate-rich seawater. Bacterial reduction of sulfate took place in the formation of some barite chimneys.

  3. Spatial and temporal variability of particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Mexico City

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thornhill, D. A.; de Foy, B.; Herndon, S. C.; Onasch, T. B.; Wood, E. C.; Zavala, M.; Molina, L. T.; Gaffney, J. S.; Marley, N. A.; Marr, L. C.

    2008-06-01

    As part of the Megacities Initiative: Local and Global Research Observations (MILAGRO) study in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area in March 2006, we measured particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other gaseous species and particulate properties, including light absorbing carbon or effective black carbon (BC), at six locations throughout the city. The measurements were intended to support the following objectives: to describe spatial and temporal patterns in PAH concentrations, to gain insight into sources and transformations of PAHs and BC, and to quantify the relationships between PAHs and other pollutants. Total particulate PAHs at the Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo (T0 supersite) located near downtown averaged 50 ng m-3, and aerosol active surface area averaged 80 mm2 m-3. PAHs were also measured on board the Aerodyne Mobile Laboratory, which visited six sites encompassing a mixture of different land uses and a range of ages of air parcels transported from the city core. A combination of analyses of time series, back trajectories, concentration fields, pollutant ratios, and correlation coefficients supports the concept of T0 as an urban source site, T1 as a receptor site with strong local sources, Pedregal and PEMEX as intermediate sites, Pico Tres Padres as a vertical receptor site, and Santa Ana as a downwind receptor site. Weak intersite correlations suggest that local sources are important and variable and that exposure to PAHs and BC cannot be represented by a single regional-scale value. The relationships between PAHs and other pollutants suggest that a variety of sources and ages of particles are present. Among carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon dioxide, particulate PAHs are most strongly correlated with NOx. Mexico City's PAH/BC mass ratio of 0.01 is similar to that found on a freeway loop in the Los Angeles area and approximately 8 30 times higher than that found in other cities. Evidence also suggests that primary

  4. Hydrocarbons in Deep-Sea Sediments following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Blowout in the Northeast Gulf of Mexico

    PubMed Central

    Romero, Isabel C.; Schwing, Patrick T.; Brooks, Gregg R.; Larson, Rebekka A.; Hastings, David W.; Ellis, Greg; Goddard, Ethan A.; Hollander, David J.

    2015-01-01

    The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) spill released 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) over 87 days. Sediment and water sampling efforts were concentrated SW of the DWH and in coastal areas. Here we present geochemistry data from sediment cores collected in the aftermath of the DWH event from 1000 – 1500 m water depth in the DeSoto Canyon, NE of the DWH wellhead. Cores were analyzed at high-resolution (at 2 mm and 5 mm intervals) in order to evaluate the concentration, composition and input of hydrocarbons to the seafloor. Specifically, we analyzed total organic carbon (TOC), aliphatic, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs), and biomarker (hopanes, steranes, diasteranes) compounds to elucidate possible sources and transport pathways for deposition of hydrocarbons. Results showed higher hydrocarbon concentrations during 2010-2011 compared to years prior to 2010. Hydrocarbon inputs in 2010-2011 were composed of a mixture of sources including terrestrial, planktonic, and weathered oil. Our results suggest that after the DWH event, both soluble and highly insoluble hydrocarbons were deposited at enhanced rates in the deep-sea. We proposed two distinct transport pathways of hydrocarbon deposition: 1) sinking of oil-particle aggregates (hydrocarbon-contaminated marine snow and/or suspended particulate material), and 2) advective transport and direct contact of the deep plume with the continental slope surface sediments between 1000-1200 m. Our findings underline the complexity of the depositional event observed in the aftermath of the DWH event in terms of multiple sources, variable concentrations, and spatial (depth-related) variability in the DeSoto Canyon, NE of the DWH wellhead. PMID:26020923

  5. Hydrocarbons in Deep-Sea Sediments following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Blowout in the Northeast Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Romero, Isabel C; Schwing, Patrick T; Brooks, Gregg R; Larson, Rebekka A; Hastings, David W; Ellis, Greg; Goddard, Ethan A; Hollander, David J

    2015-01-01

    The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) spill released 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) over 87 days. Sediment and water sampling efforts were concentrated SW of the DWH and in coastal areas. Here we present geochemistry data from sediment cores collected in the aftermath of the DWH event from 1000-1500 m water depth in the DeSoto Canyon, NE of the DWH wellhead. Cores were analyzed at high-resolution (at 2 mm and 5 mm intervals) in order to evaluate the concentration, composition and input of hydrocarbons to the seafloor. Specifically, we analyzed total organic carbon (TOC), aliphatic, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs), and biomarker (hopanes, steranes, diasteranes) compounds to elucidate possible sources and transport pathways for deposition of hydrocarbons. Results showed higher hydrocarbon concentrations during 2010-2011 compared to years prior to 2010. Hydrocarbon inputs in 2010-2011 were composed of a mixture of sources including terrestrial, planktonic, and weathered oil. Our results suggest that after the DWH event, both soluble and highly insoluble hydrocarbons were deposited at enhanced rates in the deep-sea. We proposed two distinct transport pathways of hydrocarbon deposition: 1) sinking of oil-particle aggregates (hydrocarbon-contaminated marine snow and/or suspended particulate material), and 2) advective transport and direct contact of the deep plume with the continental slope surface sediments between 1000-1200 m. Our findings underline the complexity of the depositional event observed in the aftermath of the DWH event in terms of multiple sources, variable concentrations, and spatial (depth-related) variability in the DeSoto Canyon, NE of the DWH wellhead.

  6. Hydrocarbon source apportionment in Mexico City using the chemical mass balance receptor model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vega, Elizabeth; Mugica, Violeta; Carmona, Rocío.; Valencia, Edgar

    A field study was conducted in Mexico City during May-November 1997 to determine non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) species emitted from different sources: application of slow curing asphalt pavement, liquefied petroleum gas (vapour phase), dry cleaning, graphic arts, landfill, emissions of motor vehicle exhaust inside a tunnel, hot soak, whole gasoline, painting operations and degreasing. Forty-five ambient air samples of NMHC were simultaneously collected from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. at three different sites, Xalostoc, Pedregal and La Merced, denominated receptors, during the spring and fall of 1996. In both cases samples were collected in stainless-steel canisters and analysed by gas chromatography with flame ionisation detection system. Based on these measurements the chemical mass receptor model (CMB) was applied to estimate the contribution of the different NMHC source to ambient pollution. The average results for the two sampling periods showed that the major sources of NMHC for the three sites were: motor vehicle exhaust with an average contribution of 54.9, 57.4 and 63.8% for Xalostoc, Pedregal and La Merced, respectively, followed by handling and distribution of liquefied petroleum gas with 28.5% in Xalostoc, 20.0% in Pedregal and 24.0% in La Merced.

  7. Evolution and hydrocarbon potential of offshore Pinar Del Rio area, Southern Gulf of Mexico

    SciTech Connect

    Tenreyro-Perez, R.; Lopez-Rivera, J.G.; Fernandez-Carmona, J.; Lopez-Quintero, J.O.

    1996-09-01

    The evolution of Southeast Gulf of Mexico comprises three main periods: pre-orogenic, syn-orogenic and post-orogenic. During pre-orogenic time, from Lower Jurassic to Campanian, the stages are the rift of Pangaea and the thermal subsidence (or drift). In drift stage two domains interacted in the space; the carbonate platforms (Bahamas, Yucatan, Organos and others), and the deepwater basins. These fluctuations were dictated by the differential subsidence and horizontal displacements of basement blocks as well as by the eustatic movements of the ocean. The Organos platform, for example, was entirely drowned since Upper Jurassic and the sedimentation continued in deepwater environment. The collision between Great Antilles Volcanic Arc and the continental margins since Upper Cretaceous modeled the Cuban orogen. Here, the southern facies thrusted over the northern section with simultaneous strike-slip movements. The interaction suddenly ceased in Eocene. The source rock levels are considerably more frequent in the deepwater domain than in the platforms. The Lower and Upper Jurassic as well as Lower and Middle Cretaceous horizons contain very high levels of organic matter. The offshore seismic shows the transition from the thrusted belt to the foreland basin with a typical triangle zone configuration. Reservoirs are expected in the Cretaceous section covered by seals conformed by early foreland basin sediments of Upper Cretaceous-Paleocene age. Foothill structures has a great potential for hydrocarbon exploration.

  8. Hydrocarbon concentrations in sediments and clams (Rangia cuneata) in Laguna de Pom, Mexico

    SciTech Connect

    Alvarez-Legorreta, T.; Gold-Bouchot, G.; Zapata-Perez, O.

    1994-01-01

    Laguna de Pom is a coastal lagoon within the Laguna de Terminos system in southern Gulf of Mexico. It belongs to the Grijalva-Usumacinta basin, and is located between 18{degrees} 33{prime} and 18{degrees} 38{prime} north latitude and 92{degrees} 01{prime} and 92{degrees} 14{prime} west longitude, in the Coastal Plain physiographic Province of the Gulf. It is ellipsoidal and approximately 10 km long, with a surface area of 5,200 ha and a mean depth of 1.5 m. Water salinity and temperature ranges are 0 to 13 {per_thousand} and 25{degrees} to 31{degrees}C, respectively. Benthic macrofauna is dominated by bivalves such as the clams Rangia cuneata, R. flexuosa, and Polymesoda carolineana. These clams provide the basis of an artisanal fishery, which is the main economic activity in the region. The presence of several oil-processing facilities around the lagoon is very conspicuous, which together with decreasing yields has created social conflicts, with the fishermen blaming the mexican state oil company (PEMEX) for the decrease in the clam population. This work aims to determine if the concentration of hydrocarbons in the clams (R. cuneata) and sediments of Laguna de Pom are responsible for the declining clam fishery. 11 refs., 4 figs., 2 tabs.

  9. Rare earth elements of seep carbonates: Indication for redox variations and microbiological processes at modern seep sites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feng, Dong; Lin, Zhijia; Bian, Youyan; Chen, Duofu; Peckmann, Jörn; Bohrmann, Gerhard; Roberts, Harry H.

    2013-03-01

    At marine seeps, methane is microbially oxidized resulting in the precipitation of carbonates close to the seafloor. Methane oxidation leads to sulfate depletion in sediment pore water, which induces a change in redox conditions. Rare earth element (REE) patterns of authigenic carbonate phases collected from modern seeps of the Gulf of Mexico, the Black Sea, and the Congo Fan were analyzed. Different carbonate minerals including aragonite and calcite with different crystal habits have been selected for analysis. Total REE content (ΣREE) of seep carbonates varies widely, from 0.1 ppm to 42.5 ppm, but a common trend is that the ΣREE in microcrystalline phases is higher than that of the associated later phases including micospar, sparite and blocky cement, suggesting that ΣREE may be a function of diagenesis. The shale-normalized REE patterns of the seep carbonates often show different Ce anomalies even in samples from a specific site, suggesting that the formation conditions of seep carbonates are variable and complex. Overall, our results show that apart from anoxic, oxic conditions are at least temporarily common in seep environments.

  10. Abyssal seep site cementation

    SciTech Connect

    Neumann, A.C.; Paull, C.K.; Commeau, R.; Commeau, J.

    1988-01-01

    The deepest submarine cements known so far occur along the 3,300-m deep base of the Florida escarpment and are associated with methane-bearing brine seeps, which emanate there. These deep Holocene carbonates, which occur as surficial and buried crusts, burrow fillings, and friable horizons, were sampled via ALVIN. The carbonates form irregular halos extending up to 20 m from seeps colonized by chemosynthetic fauna. Mussels, gastropods, and clams, the carbonate components of the community, produce a shell hash that is locally cemented by coarsely crystalline low-Mg calcite. Halos of palisade calcite are reminiscent of ancient examples of marine cements. Also present are carbonate hemipelagics cemented by micrite into crusts and burrow fillings. The degree of cementation varies from pervasive to light. Slabs of cemented crust up to 30 cm thick contrast with typical shallow crusts and exhibit irregular tops and smooth bottoms indicating different chemical gradients and pathways.

  11. The earliest mollusc dominated seep fauna from the Early Jurassic of Argentina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaim, Andrzej; Jenkins, Robert; Parent, Horacio; Garrido, Alberto; Moriya, Kazuhiro

    2015-04-01

    The earliest mollusc dominated seep fauna from the Early Jurassic of Argentina Andrzej Kaim, Robert G. Jenkins, Horacio Parent, Alberto C. Garrido The hydrocarbon seep deposits are known from Early Jurassic of Argentina since the report of Gomez-Perez (2003). The latter author identified very negative δ13C values (down to -33) and several fabrics typical for seep carbonates. Nevertheless she identified no macrofaunal assemblages apart from worm tubes. We re-visited the locality of Gomez-Perez (named here La Elina) and we were able to collect several molluscs associated with the seep carbonate. The most common and diversified are molluscs and worm tubes. We identified at least three species of gastropods, including the oldest-known species of neomphalids, lucinid and protobranch bivalves and numerous ammonoids. Unlike another known Early Jurassic seep from Oregon and the only Late Triassic seep (also from Oregon) there are no brachiopods associated with this seep. Therefore we consider the seep at La Elina as the oldest seep of modern aspect where the fauna is dominated by molluscs and not brachiopods.

  12. Toward estimation of origin of methane at ancient seeps — Carbon isotopes of seep carbonates, lipid biomarkers, and adsorbed gas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miyajima, Yusuke; Watanabe, Yumiko; Ijiri, Akira; Goto, Akiko; Jenkins, Robert; Hasegawa, Takashi; Sakai, Saburo; Matsumoto, Ryo

    2017-04-01

    values lower than -50‰ . Acid dissolution of the Miocene to Pliocene carbonates released methane with δ13C values mostly around or higher than -50‰ , which conflicts with the estimation based on biomarkers. Moreover, the Pleistocene and modern samples released only trace amounts of methane. It is thus highly possible that the extracted methane was mostly adsorbed on the carbonates within zones of thermogenic generation of hydrocarbons during burial. In conclusion, we can roughly estimate origins of methane at ancient seeps based on δ13C values of carbonates and biomarkers. However, in order to directly analyze methane contained in ancient seepage fluids, exploration of gas or fluid inclusions trapped within carbonate crystals is necessary.

  13. Tracking hydrocarbon plume transport and biodegradation at Deepwater Horizon.

    PubMed

    Camilli, Richard; Reddy, Christopher M; Yoerger, Dana R; Van Mooy, Benjamin A S; Jakuba, Michael V; Kinsey, James C; McIntyre, Cameron P; Sylva, Sean P; Maloney, James V

    2010-10-08

    The Deepwater Horizon blowout is the largest offshore oil spill in history. We present results from a subsurface hydrocarbon survey using an autonomous underwater vehicle and a ship-cabled sampler. Our findings indicate the presence of a continuous plume of oil, more than 35 kilometers in length, at approximately 1100 meters depth that persisted for months without substantial biodegradation. Samples collected from within the plume reveal monoaromatic petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations in excess of 50 micrograms per liter. These data indicate that monoaromatic input to this plume was at least 5500 kilograms per day, which is more than double the total source rate of all natural seeps of the monoaromatic petroleum hydrocarbons in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Dissolved oxygen concentrations suggest that microbial respiration rates within the plume were not appreciably more than 1 micromolar oxygen per day.

  14. Non-methane hydrocarbons source apportionment at different sites in Mexico City during 2002-2003

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vega, E.; Sanchez, G.; Molina, L.

    2007-09-01

    The atmospheric concentrations of a variety of non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) collected at different sites, representing urban and rural environments within Mexico City Metropolitan Area (MCMA) during 1997, 2002 and 2003 field campaigns, were compared and used as an input for the Chemical Mass Balance (CMB) receptor model to determine the source contribution of NMHC to the atmosphere. A common feature at all the locations was the dominance of alkenes (59%), aromatics (16%) and olefins (9%) in the average NMHC burden. At the urban sites the interquartile range of NMHC concentrations showed stabilization over this period with a slight increase in the concentrations of propane and butanes in the southwest site of the MCMA in 2003 due to the increased use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The receptor model CMB version 8.0 was used to apportion the NMHC sources at six locations within the MCMA, representing the heavily industrialized, commercial, residential and rural areas. For the 2003 field campaign, the contribution of vehicular emissions dominated the NMHC concentrations (19.7%±7.1% for gasoline vehicles and 35.4%±17.5% for diesel vehicles) followed by the emissions of marketing and handling of LPG (29.9%±8.0%). The NMHC concentrations showed a weekly cycle with the highest levels towards the end of the week and lowest at weekend and beginning of the week, suggesting that both emissions and accumulations process play a key role in building up NMHC levels. The toluene to benzene ratio was used to determine photochemical ageing of the air samples during the 2003 field campaign. The database was divided into periods with similar wind circulation pattern; the results suggest that ageing process within the MCMA is generally suppressed by the amount of fresh emissions.

  15. Exposure of children to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Mexico: assessment of multiple sources.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Salinas, Rebeca I; Elena Leal, M; Batres-Esquivel, Lilia E; Domínguez-Cortinas, Gabriela; Calderón, Jacqueline; Díaz-Barriga, Fernando; Pérez-Maldonado, Iván N

    2010-08-01

    Biological monitoring of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) has expanded rapidly since urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) was suggested as a biological index for pyrene. Taking into account that pyrene is often present in PAHs mixtures, 1-OHP has also been considered an indirect indicator of exposure to these mixtures. Sources of PAHs in developing countries are numerous; however, exposure of children to PAHs has not been studied in detail. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess exposure of children to PAHs in different scenarios: (a) children living next to highways with heavy traffic; (b) sanitary landfill; (c) brick kiln communities and (d) children exposed to biomass combustion. A total of 258 children (aged 3-13) participated in the study. The analyses were performed by HPLC with fluorescence detector. Urinary 1-OHP concentrations were then adjusted by urinary creatinine. The highest levels of 1-OHP in this study were found in children exposed to biomass combustion (mean value 3.25 micromol/mol creatinine), but exposure was also detected in children living in communities with brick kiln industry (mean 0.35 micromol/mol creatinine), or in a community next to a sanitary landfill (with waste combustion) (0.30 micromol/mol creatinine) and in children exposed to traffic (mean value 0.2 micromol/mol creatinine and 0.08 micromol/mol creatinine). Considering our results and taking into account that millions of children in Mexico are living in scenarios similar to those studied in this work, the assessment of health effects in children exposed to PAHs is urgently needed; furthermore, PAHs have to be declared contaminants of concern at a national level.

  16. Management of dryland saline seeps

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Discussed is the identification, diagnosis, control, and reclamation of dryland saline seep problems as found in the North American Great Plains. Saline seeps develop because of geologic stratifications within the soil profile and insufficient use of precipitation by crops used in dryland farming s...

  17. Risk assessment of seeps from the 317 Area of Argonne National Laboratory

    SciTech Connect

    1996-09-17

    Chlorinated hydrocarbon contaminants have recently been detected in groundwater seeps on forest preserve property south of the 317 Area at ANL. The 317 Area is near ANL`s southern boundary and is considered the source of the contamination. Five seeps are about 200 m south of the ANL property line and about same distance from the nearest developed trails in the forest preserve. Conservative assumptions were used to assess the possibility of adverse health effects associated with forest preserve seeps impacted by the 317 Area. Results indicate that neither cancer risks nor noncarcinogenic effects associated with exposures to seep contaminants are a concern; thus, the area is safe for all visitors. The ecological impact study found that the presence of the three contaminants (CCl{sub 4}, CHCl{sub 3}, tetrachloroethylene) in the seep water does not pose a risk to biota in the area.

  18. Upper Jurassic Norphlet formation: new frontier for hydrocarbon prospecting in the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico regions

    SciTech Connect

    Mancini, E.A.; Mink, R.M.; Bearden, B.L.

    1984-04-01

    Since the discovery of oil in 1967 from the Smackover Formation at Toxey field, Choctaw County, Alabama, and of condensate in 1968 from the Norphlet Formation at Flomaton field, Escambia County, Alabama, the Upper Jurassic has become the primary exploration target in southwestern Alabama. Norphlet petroleum traps in the region are principally combination traps involving favorable stratigraphy and salt anticlines (Copeland field), extensional fault traps associated with salt movement (Flomaton field), and faulted salt anticlines (Hatter's Pond and Lower Mobile Bay-Mary Ann fields). Reservoir rocks include marine, dune, and fluvial sandstone lithofacies. Sandstone porosity involves both primary intergranular and secondary dissolution and fracture. Smackover algal carbonate mudstone is probably the source for much of the Norphlet hydrocarbon, but downdip Norphlet marine shales may also be source rocks. The central and eastern Gulf of Mexico regions should continue to be excellent areas to explore for hydrocarbons in the years ahead. Successful Norphlet petroleum prospecting in the area has involved the identification of favorable sandstone lithofacies and structural hydrocarbon traps by using geologic and geophysical methods. Future Norphlet discoveries will require the delineation of stratigraphic and structural/stratigraphic combination hydrocarbon traps using seismic-stratigraphic techniques.

  19. Upper Jurassic Norphlet formation: new frontier for hydrocarbon prospecting in the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico regions

    SciTech Connect

    Mancini, E.A.; Mink, R.M.; Bearden, B.L.

    1984-04-01

    Since the discovery of oil in 1967 from the Smackover Formation at Toxey field, Choctaw County, Alabama, and of condensate in 1968 from the Norphlet Formation at Flomaton field, Escambia County, Alabama, the Upper Jurassic has become the primary exploration target in southwestern Alabama. Norphlet petroleum traps in the region are principally combination traps involving favorable stratigraphy and salt anticlines (Copeland field), exensional fault traps associated with salt movement (Flomaton field), and faulted salt anticlines (Hatter's Pond and Lower Mobile Bay-Mary Ann fields). Reservoir rocks include marine, dune, and fluvial sandstone lithofacies. Sandstone porosity involves both primary intergranular and secondary dissolution and fracture. Smackover algal carbonate mudstone is probably the source for much of the Norphlet hydrocarbon, but downdip Norphlet marine shales may also be source rocks. The central and eastern Gulf of Mexico regions should continue to be excellent areas to explore for hydrocarbons in the years ahead. Successful Norphlet petroleum prospecting in the area has involved the identification of favorable sandstone lithofacies and structural hydrocarbon traps by using geologic and geophysical methods. Future Norphlet discoveries will require the delineation of stratigraphic and structural/stratigraphic combination hydrocarbon traps using seismic-stratigraphic techniques.

  20. Macondo-1 well oil-derived polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in mesozooplankton from the northern Gulf of Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mitra, Siddhartha; Kimmel, David G.; Snyder, Jessica; Scalise, Kimberly; McGlaughon, Benjamin D.; Roman, Michael R.; Jahn, Ginger L.; Pierson, James J.; Brandt, Stephen B.; Montoya, Joseph P.; Rosenbauer, Robert J.; Lorenson, T.D.; Wong, Florence L.; Campbell, Pamela L.

    2012-01-01

    Mesozooplankton (>200 μm) collected in August and September of 2010 from the northern Gulf of Mexico show evidence of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Multivariate statistical analysis revealed that distributions of PAHs extracted from mesozooplankton were related to the oil released from the ruptured British Petroleum Macondo-1 (M-1) well associated with the R/VDeepwater Horizon blowout. Mesozooplankton contained 0.03–97.9 ng g−1 of total PAHs and ratios of fluoranthene to fluoranthene + pyrene less than 0.44, indicating a liquid fossil fuel source. The distribution of PAHs isolated from mesozooplankton extracted in this study shows that the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill may have contributed to contamination in the northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

  1. Macondo-1 well oil-derived polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in mesozooplankton from the northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitra, Siddhartha; Kimmel, David G.; Snyder, Jessica; Scalise, Kimberly; McGlaughon, Benjamin D.; Roman, Michael R.; Jahn, Ginger L.; Pierson, James J.; Brandt, Stephen B.; Montoya, Joseph P.; Rosenbauer, Robert J.; Lorenson, Thomas D.; Wong, Florence L.; Campbell, Pamela L.

    2012-01-01

    Mesozooplankton (>200 μm) collected in August and September of 2010 from the northern Gulf of Mexico show evidence of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Multivariate statistical analysis revealed that distributions of PAHs extracted from mesozooplankton were related to the oil released from the ruptured British Petroleum Macondo-1 (M-1) well associated with the R/V Deepwater Horizon blowout. Mesozooplankton contained 0.03-97.9 ng g-1 of total PAHs and ratios of fluoranthene to fluoranthene + pyrene less than 0.44, indicating a liquid fossil fuel source. The distribution of PAHs isolated from mesozooplankton extracted in this study shows that the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill may have contributed to contamination in the northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

  2. Carbonate-cemented hardgrounds: a subtle indicator for seep activity offshore Humboldt Bay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shapiro, R. S.; Bazard, D.

    2007-12-01

    Active hydrocarbon seeps are common in the accretionary prism of the Cascadia subduction zone. In Humboldt County, California, the prism is exposed at the surface as a series of fault-propagated anticlines trending NW-SE. Offshore of the town of Samoa, a northwest-plunging anticline is breached at approximately 40 meters water depth, allowing hydrocarbons to seep out to the seafloor (40.8° N, 124.25° W). The assumed microbial activity at the seep leads to the production of interstitial carbonate cements forming hardgrounds. Cementation is pervasive and blocks eroded from the seep area of the seabed are transported onshore during storm events. Blocks collected from the beach range from 3--40 centimeters across. The sediments of the blocks are palimpsest transgressive deposits composed mostly of immature fine sand, but ranging from very fine to rounded gravels 4 cm diameter. Cementation is not dependent on grain size as all of the sediment sizes are cemented. In rare void spaces, a concentric banding of cements is obvious. The interstitial cements preserve original sedimentary structures including graded beds and high-angle cross-beds. Centimeter-scale subspherical concretions occur on the undersides of some blocks. There is no disruption of bedding in contrast to other seeps where the expulsion of gas can create pockmarks, brecciation, and other disturbances. Unlike the better studied seeps farther south in the Eel River basin, the Samoa seeps do not seem to host a rich chemosynthetic fauna. Whole and (mostly) fragmented shells preserved by the cemented sands represent a typical benthic inner shelf community including Dendraster, Macoma, and Olivella. Burrows preserved in the sands are largely horizontal and 1--2 mm diameter. Seep carbonate-cemented hardgrounds are less well studied then the more obvious meter-scale 'chemoherm' deposits. However, they may be more prevalent in the rock record and provide a new proxy for locating ancient seeps and hydrocarbon

  3. Impact of hydrocarbons, PCBs and heavy metals on bacterial communities in Lerma River, Salamanca, Mexico: Investigation of hydrocarbon degradation potential.

    PubMed

    Brito, Elcia M S; De la Cruz Barrón, Magali; Caretta, César A; Goñi-Urriza, Marisol; Andrade, Leandro H; Cuevas-Rodríguez, Germán; Malm, Olaf; Torres, João P M; Simon, Maryse; Guyoneaud, Remy

    2015-07-15

    Freshwater contamination usually comes from runoff water or direct wastewater discharges to the environment. This paper presents a case study which reveals the impact of these types of contamination on the sediment bacterial population. A small stretch of Lerma River Basin, heavily impacted by industrial activities and urban wastewater release, was studied. Due to industrial inputs, the sediments are characterized by strong hydrocarbon concentrations, ranging from 2 935 to 28 430μg·kg(-1) of total polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These sediments are also impacted by heavy metals (e.g., 9.6μg·kg(-1) of Cd and 246μg·kg(-1) of Cu, about 8 times the maximum recommended values for environmental samples) and polychlorinated biphenyls (ranging from 54 to 123μg·kg(-1) of total PCBs). The bacterial diversity on 6 sediment samples, taken from upstream to downstream of the main industrial and urban contamination sources, was assessed through TRFLP. Even though the high PAH concentrations are hazardous to aquatic life, they are not the only factor driving bacterial community composition in this ecosystem. Urban discharges, leading to hypoxia and low pH, also strongly influenced bacterial community structure. The bacterial bioprospection of these samples, using PAH as unique carbon source, yielded 8 hydrocarbonoclastic strains. By sequencing the 16S rDNA gene, these were identified as similar to Mycobacterium goodii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas lundensis or Aeromonas veronii. These strains showed high capacity to degrade naphthalene (between 92 and 100% at 200mg·L(-1)), pyrene (up to 72% at 100mg·L(-1)) and/or fluoranthene (52% at 50mg·L(-1)) as their only carbon source on in vitro experiments. These hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria were detected even in the samples upstream of the city of Salamanca, suggesting chronical contamination, already in place longer before. Such microorganisms are clearly potential candidates for hydrocarbon degradation in the

  4. Metagenomes from two microbial consortia associated with Santa Barbara seep oil.

    PubMed

    Hawley, Erik R; Malfatti, Stephanie A; Pagani, Ioanna; Huntemann, Marcel; Chen, Amy; Foster, Brian; Copeland, Alexander; del Rio, Tijana Glavina; Pati, Amrita; Jansson, Janet R; Gilbert, Jack A; Tringe, Susannah Green; Lorenson, Thomas D; Hess, Matthias

    2014-12-01

    The metagenomes from two microbial consortia associated with natural oils seeping into the Pacific Ocean offshore the coast of Santa Barbara (California, USA) were determined to complement already existing metagenomes generated from microbial communities associated with hydrocarbons that pollute the marine ecosystem. This genomics resource article is the first of two publications reporting a total of four new metagenomes from oils that seep into the Santa Barbara Channel.

  5. Does the "sleeping Dragon" Really Sleep?: the Case for Continuous Long-Term Monitoring at a Gulf of Mexico Cold Seep Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, R. M.; Lapham, L.; Farr, N.; Lutken, C.; MacDonald, I. R.; Macelloni, L.; Riedel, M.; Sleeper, K.; Chanton, J.

    2011-12-01

    Continuous porewater monitoring indicates that the methane flux away from exposed hydrate mounds can vary considerably over time. Recently, we retrieved a Pore Fluid Array instrument pack from a hydrate outcrop adjacent to a NEPTUNE Canada observatory node. The sampler was designed to continuously collect and store sediment pore fluids over the course of 9 months. On analysis, we observed a 35mM variation in methane concentrations corresponding with an abrupt shift in current direction at the site. Video and resistivity data have led to previous speculation that hydrate growth and dissolution/dissociation may be seasonally variable. Cumulatively, these findings suggest that the persistence of hydrate outcrops may be extremely dynamic, driven by fluctuations in physical conditions on short time scales. Short-term monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico within Mississippi Canyon lease block 118 (MC118), a known hydrate-bearing site, indicates that physical conditions even at these depths (~540-890m) may be highly variable. Pressure can vary within hours, and recorded temperature changes of ~1.5°C have been associated with passing storms. Moreover, increased particle abundance was observed at the site in 2007 suggesting that organic matter flux to the sediments may vary on the scale of months to years. These inputs have the potential to alter the chemical environment surrounding the hydrate, thereby affecting dissolution rates. Continuous, long-term observations of physical conditions at MC118 could provide information about the potential for natural perturbations to impact hydrate dynamics on the scale of weeks or even days necessary for assessing the long-term persistence of hydrate outcrops. Sleeping Dragon is a massive hydrate outcrop at MC118 that has been monitored since 2006. Three years ago, researchers returning to the site found it visibly diminished relative to previous observations. This apparent shift toward net dissolution of the mound may have been

  6. Comparative study of vent and seep macrofaunal communities in the Guaymas Basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Portail, M.; Olu, K.; Escobar-Briones, E.; Caprais, J. C.; Menot, L.; Waeles, M.; Cruaud, P.; Sarradin, P. M.; Godfroy, A.; Sarrazin, J.

    2015-09-01

    Understanding the ecological processes and connectivity of chemosynthetic deep-sea ecosystems requires comparative studies. In the Guaymas Basin (Gulf of California, Mexico), the presence of seeps and vents in the absence of a biogeographic barrier, and comparable sedimentary settings and depths offers a unique opportunity to assess the role of ecosystem-specific environmental conditions on macrofaunal communities. Six seep and four vent assemblages were studied, three of which were characterised by common major foundation taxa: vesicomyid bivalves, siboglinid tubeworms and microbial mats. Macrofaunal community structure at the family level showed that density, diversity and composition patterns were primarily shaped by seep- and vent-common abiotic factors including methane and hydrogen sulfide concentrations, whereas vent environmental specificities (higher temperature, higher metal concentrations and lower pH) were not significant. The type of substratum and the heterogeneity provided by foundation species were identified as additional structuring factors and their roles were found to vary according to fluid regimes. At the family level, seep and vent similarity reached at least 58 %. All vent families were found at seeps and each seep-specific family displayed low relative abundances (< 5 %). Moreover, 85 % of the identified species among dominant families were shared between seep and vent ecosystems. This study provides further support to the hypothesis of continuity among deep-sea seep and vent ecosystems.

  7. Constraining silica diagenesis in methane-seep deposits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smrzka, Daniel; Kraemer, Stephan; Zwicker, Jennifer; Birgel, Daniel; Fischer, David; Kasten, Sabine; Goedert, James; Peckmann, Jörn

    2015-04-01

    Silicified fossils and silicified early diagenetic carbonate minerals as well as authigenic silica phases are common in ancient seep limestones. Silicification of calcareous fossils facilitates the preservation of even fine details and is therefore of great interest to paleontologists, permitting a reliable taxonomic identification of the chemosynthesis-based taxa that lived at ancient hydrocarbon seeps. Four methane-seep limestones of Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic age with abundant silica phases are compared in this study; one, an Eocene seep deposit on the north shore of the Columbia River at Knappton, western Washington State, USA, is described for the first time. Its lithology and fabrics, negative δ13Ccarbonate values as low as -27.6‰, and 13C-depleted biomarkers of archaea involved in the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) reveal that the carbonate rock formed at a methane seep. The background sediments of the studied Phanerozoic seep limestones contain abundant siliceous microfossils, radiolarian tests in case of the Late Carboniferous Dwyka Group deposits from Namibia and the Late Triassic Graylock Butte deposits from eastern Oregon (USA), diatom frustules in case of the Eocene Knappton limestone and an Oligocene seep deposit from the Lincoln Creek Formation (western Washington State, USA). These microfossils are regarded as the source of dissolved silica, causing silicification and silica precipitation. All seep limestones used in this study are characterized by very similar paragenetic sequences. Silicified fossils include brachiopods and worm tubes, silica cements include microquartz, fibrous microcrystalline silica, and megaquartz. The silica cements formed after the AOM-derived cements ceased to precipitate but before equant calcite spar formed. Numerical experiments using the computer code PHREEQC were conducted to test the hypothesis that (1) AOM increases the pH of pore waters and that (2) this pH increase subsequently mobilizes biogenic

  8. Ecological risk assessment for small omnivorous mammals exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: a case study in northeastern Mexico.

    PubMed

    Flores-Serrano, Rosa María; Iturbe-Argüelles, Rosario; Pérez-Casimiro, Guillermina; Ramírez-González, Adriana; Flores-Guido, José Salvador; Kantún-Balam, Jesús Martín

    2014-04-01

    An ecological risk assessment (ERA) was performed using the hazard quotient (HQ) method to evaluate the risks of oral exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) for medium sized omnivorous mammals. This is the first in a series of three papers. In Mexico there is little experience in performing this kind of assessment for the terrestrial compartment, in particular for birds and mammals exposed to hydrocarbons. The purpose of this paper is to perform an ERA and to establish if the omnivorous mammalian species living in the area are at risk of adverse effects. The studied site is a land that in past years had been used for the disposition of petroleum tank bottom sludges, and scrap metals. Soil and water samples were collected and analyzed, and we obtained a list of the site's wildlife species as well as samples of the specimens, which were analyzed also. HQs were calculated for the hydrocarbons identified as chemicals of potential ecological concern (COPECs) and the omnivorous mammals of the site were evaluated. Toxicity reference values (TRVs) were taken from the appropriate literature, and the doses of exposure were estimated considering the ingestion of water, soil, and diet. Results indicated that potential risks associated to the oral exposure route were less than benchmarks for effects (in all cases HQ<1). The methodology is adequate in terms of the parameters considered in the calculations, but it was concluded that in order to reduce uncertainty, more research is required in Mexico. This should be primarily aimed at obtaining TRVs for mammals, and consider test species with body weights more similar to those found in the local fauna.

  9. Vehicle traffic as a source of particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure in the Mexico City metropolitan area.

    PubMed

    Marr, Linsey C; Grogan, Lisa A; Wöhrnschimmel, Henry; Molina, Luisa T; Molina, Mario J; Smith, Thomas J; Garshick, Eric

    2004-05-01

    Surface properties of aerosols in the Mexico City metropolitan area have been measured in a variety of exposure scenarios related to vehicle emissions in 2002, using continuous, real-time instruments. The objective of these experiments is to describe ambient and occupational particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations associated with vehicular traffic and facilities using diesel vehicles. Median total particulate PAH concentrations along Mexico City's roadways range from 60 to 910 ng m(-3), averaged over a minimum of 1 h. These levels are approximately 5 times higher than concentrations measured in the United States and among the highest measured ambient values reported in the literature. The ratio of particulate PAH concentration to aerosol active surface area is much higher along roadways and in other areas of fresh vehicle emissions, compared to ratios measured at sites influenced more by aged emissions or noncombustion sources. For particles freshly emitted by vehicles, PAH and elemental carbon (EC) concentrations are correlated because they both originate during the combustion process. Comparison of PAH versus EC and active surface area concentrations at different locations suggests that surface PAH concentrations may diminish with particle aging. These results indicate that exposure to vehicle-related PAH emissions on Mexico City's roadways may present an important public health risk.

  10. Vehicle Traffic as a Source of Particulate Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Exposure in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area

    PubMed Central

    MARR, LINSEY C.; GROGAN, LISA A.; WÖHRNSCHIMMEL, HENRY; MOLINA, LUISAT.; MOLINA, MARIO J.; SMITH, THOMAS J.; GARSHICK, ERIC

    2005-01-01

    Surface properties of aerosols in the Mexico City metropolitan area have been measured in a variety of exposure scenarios related to vehicle emissions in 2002, using continuous, real-time instruments. The objective of these experiments is to describe ambient and occupational particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations associated with vehicular traffic and facilities using diesel vehicles. Median total particulate PAH concentrations along Mexico City’s roadways range from 60 to 910 ng m−3, averaged over a minimum of 1 h. These levels are approximately 5 times higher than concentrations measured in the United States and among the highest measured ambient values reported in the literature. The ratio of particulate PAH concentration to aerosol active surface area is much higher along roadways and in other areas of fresh vehicle emissions, compared to ratios measured at sites influenced more by aged emissions or noncombustion sources. For particles freshly emitted by vehicles, PAH and elemental carbon (EC) concentrations are correlated because they both originate during the combustion process. Comparison of PAH versus EC and active surface area concentrations at different locations suggests that surface PAH concentrations may diminish with particle aging. These results indicate that exposure to vehicle-related PAH emissions on Mexico City’s roadways may present an important public health risk. PMID:15180054

  11. Mexico.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Semaan, Leslie

    The text explores Mexico's history, geography, art, religion, and lifestyles in the context of its complex economy. The text focuses on Mexico's economy and reasons for its current situation. Part I of this teaching unit includes: Teacher Overview, Why Study Mexico, Mexico Fact Sheet, Map of Mexico, the Land and Climate, History, Government,…

  12. The microbial nitrogen cycling potential is impacted by polyaromatic hydrocarbon pollution of marine sediments

    DOE PAGES

    Scott, Nicole M.; Hess, Matthias; Bouskill, Nick J.; ...

    2014-03-25

    During hydrocarbon exposure, the composition and functional dynamics of marine microbial communities are altered, favoring bacteria that can utilize this rich carbon source. Initial exposure of high levels of hydrocarbons in aerobic surface sediments can enrich growth of heterotrophic microorganisms having hydrocarbon degradation capacity. As a result, there can be a localized reduction in oxygen potential within the surface layer of marine sediments causing anaerobic zones. We hypothesized that increasing exposure to elevated hydrocarbon concentrations would positively correlate with an increase in denitrification processes and the net accumulation of dinitrogen. This hypothesis was tested by comparing the relative abundance ofmore » genes associated with nitrogen metabolism and nitrogen cycling identified in 6 metagenomes from sediments contaminated by polyaromatic hydrocarbons from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and 3 metagenomes from sediments associated with natural oil seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel. An additional 8 metagenomes from uncontaminated sediments from the Gulf of Mexico were analyzed for comparison. We predicted relative changes in metabolite turnover as a function of the differential microbial gene abundances, which showed predicted accumulation of metabolites associated with denitrification processes, including anammox, in the contaminated samples compared to uncontaminated sediments, with the magnitude of this change being positively correlated to the hydrocarbon concentration and exposure duration. Furthermore, these data highlight the potential impact of hydrocarbon inputs on N cycling processes in marine sediments and provide information relevant for system scale models of nitrogen metabolism in affected ecosystems.« less

  13. The microbial nitrogen cycling potential is impacted by polyaromatic hydrocarbon pollution of marine sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Scott, Nicole M.; Hess, Matthias; Bouskill, Nick J.; Mason, Olivia U.; Jansson, Janet K.; Gilbert, Jack A.

    2014-03-25

    During hydrocarbon exposure, the composition and functional dynamics of marine microbial communities are altered, favoring bacteria that can utilize this rich carbon source. Initial exposure of high levels of hydrocarbons in aerobic surface sediments can enrich growth of heterotrophic microorganisms having hydrocarbon degradation capacity. As a result, there can be a localized reduction in oxygen potential within the surface layer of marine sediments causing anaerobic zones. We hypothesized that increasing exposure to elevated hydrocarbon concentrations would positively correlate with an increase in denitrification processes and the net accumulation of dinitrogen. This hypothesis was tested by comparing the relative abundance of genes associated with nitrogen metabolism and nitrogen cycling identified in 6 metagenomes from sediments contaminated by polyaromatic hydrocarbons from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and 3 metagenomes from sediments associated with natural oil seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel. An additional 8 metagenomes from uncontaminated sediments from the Gulf of Mexico were analyzed for comparison. We predicted relative changes in metabolite turnover as a function of the differential microbial gene abundances, which showed predicted accumulation of metabolites associated with denitrification processes, including anammox, in the contaminated samples compared to uncontaminated sediments, with the magnitude of this change being positively correlated to the hydrocarbon concentration and exposure duration. Furthermore, these data highlight the potential impact of hydrocarbon inputs on N cycling processes in marine sediments and provide information relevant for system scale models of nitrogen metabolism in affected ecosystems.

  14. The microbial nitrogen cycling potential in marine sediments is impacted by polyaromatic hydrocarbon pollution

    DOE PAGES

    Gilbert, Jack A.

    2014-03-25

    During hydrocarbon exposure, the composition and functional dynamics of marine microbial communities are altered, favoring bacteria that can utilize this rich carbon source. Initial exposure of high levels of hydrocarbons in aerobic surface sediments can enrich growth of heterotrophic microorganisms having hydrocarbon degradation capacity. As a result, there can be a localized reduction in oxygen potential within the surface layer of marine sediments causing anaerobic zones. We hypothesized that increasing exposure to elevated hydrocarbon concentrations would positively correlate with an increase in denitrification processes and the net accumulation of dinitrogen. This hypothesis was tested by comparing the relative abundance ofmore » genes associated with nitrogen metabolism and nitrogen cycling identified in 6 metagenomes from sediments contaminated by polyaromatic hydrocarbons from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and 3 metagenomes from sediments associated with natural oil seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel. An additional 8 metagenomes from uncontaminated sediments from the Gulf of Mexico were analyzed for comparison. We predicted relative changes in metabolite turnover as a function of the differential microbial gene abundances, which showed predicted accumulation of metabolites associated with denitrification processes, including anammox, in the contaminated samples compared to uncontaminated sediments, with the magnitude of this change being positively correlated to the hydrocarbon concentration and exposure duration. These data highlight the potential impact of hydrocarbon inputs on N cycling processes in marine sediments and provide information relevant for system scale models of nitrogen metabolism in affected ecosystems.« less

  15. The microbial nitrogen cycling potential is impacted by polyaromatic hydrocarbon pollution of marine sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Scott, Nicole M.; Hess, Matthias; Bouskill, Nick; Mason, Olivia U; Jansson, Janet K; Gilbert, Jack A.

    2014-03-25

    During hydrocarbon exposure, the composition and functional dynamics of marine microbial communities are altered, favoring bacteria that can utilize this rich carbon source. Initial exposure of high levels of hydrocarbons in aerobic surface sediments can enrich growth of heterotrophic microorganisms having hydrocarbon degradation capacity. As a result, there can be a localized reduction in oxygen potential within the surface layer of marine sediments causing anaerobic zones. We hypothesized that increasing exposure to elevated hydrocarbon concentrations would positively correlate with an increase in denitrification processes and the net accumulation of dinitrogen. This hypothesis was tested by comparing the relative abundance of genes associated with nitrogen metabolism and nitrogen cycling identified in 6 metagenomes from sediments contaminated by polyaromatic hydrocarbons from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and 3 metagenomes from sediments associated with natural oil seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel. An additional 8 metagenomes from uncontaminated sediments from the Gulf of Mexico were analyzed for comparison. We predicted relative changes in metabolite turnover as a function of the differential microbial gene abundances, which showed predicted accumulation of metabolites associated with denitrification processes, including anammox, in the contaminated samples compared to uncontaminated sediments, with the magnitude of this change being positively correlated to the hydrocarbon concentration and exposure duration. These data highlight the potential impact of hydrocarbon inputs on N cycling processes in marine sediments and provide information relevant for system scale models of nitrogen metabolism in affected ecosystems

  16. The microbial nitrogen cycling potential is impacted by polyaromatic hydrocarbon pollution of marine sediments.

    PubMed

    Scott, Nicole M; Hess, Matthias; Bouskill, Nick J; Mason, Olivia U; Jansson, Janet K; Gilbert, Jack A

    2014-01-01

    During hydrocarbon exposure, the composition and functional dynamics of marine microbial communities are altered, favoring bacteria that can utilize this rich carbon source. Initial exposure of high levels of hydrocarbons in aerobic surface sediments can enrich growth of heterotrophic microorganisms having hydrocarbon degradation capacity. As a result, there can be a localized reduction in oxygen potential within the surface layer of marine sediments causing anaerobic zones. We hypothesized that increasing exposure to elevated hydrocarbon concentrations would positively correlate with an increase in denitrification processes and the net accumulation of dinitrogen. This hypothesis was tested by comparing the relative abundance of genes associated with nitrogen metabolism and nitrogen cycling identified in 6 metagenomes from sediments contaminated by polyaromatic hydrocarbons from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and 3 metagenomes from sediments associated with natural oil seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel. An additional 8 metagenomes from uncontaminated sediments from the Gulf of Mexico were analyzed for comparison. We predicted relative changes in metabolite turnover as a function of the differential microbial gene abundances, which showed predicted accumulation of metabolites associated with denitrification processes, including anammox, in the contaminated samples compared to uncontaminated sediments, with the magnitude of this change being positively correlated to the hydrocarbon concentration and exposure duration. These data highlight the potential impact of hydrocarbon inputs on N cycling processes in marine sediments and provide information relevant for system scale models of nitrogen metabolism in affected ecosystems.

  17. The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degradation potential of Gulf of Mexico native coastal microbial communities after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

    PubMed Central

    Kappell, Anthony D.; Wei, Yin; Newton, Ryan J.; Van Nostrand, Joy D.; Zhou, Jizhong; McLellan, Sandra L.; Hristova, Krassimira R.

    2014-01-01

    The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout resulted in oil transport, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. The microbial communities of these shorelines are thought to be responsible for the intrinsic degradation of PAHs. To investigate the Gulf Coast beach microbial community response to hydrocarbon exposure, we examined the functional gene diversity, bacterial community composition, and PAH degradation capacity of a heavily oiled and non-oiled beach following the oil exposure. With a non-expression functional gene microarray targeting 539 gene families, we detected 28,748 coding sequences. Of these sequences, 10% were uniquely associated with the severely oil-contaminated beach and 6.0% with the non-oiled beach. There was little variation in the functional genes detected between the two beaches; however the relative abundance of functional genes involved in oil degradation pathways, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), were greater in the oiled beach. The microbial PAH degradation potentials of both beaches, were tested in mesocosms. Mesocosms were constructed in glass columns using sands with native microbial communities, circulated with artificial sea water and challenged with a mixture of PAHs. The low-molecular weight PAHs, fluorene and naphthalene, showed rapid depletion in all mesocosms while the high-molecular weight benzo[α]pyrene was not degraded by either microbial community. Both the heavily oiled and the non-impacted coastal communities showed little variation in their biodegradation ability for low molecular weight PAHs. Massively-parallel sequencing of 16S rRNA genes from mesocosm DNA showed that known PAH degraders and genera frequently associated with oil hydrocarbon degradation represented a major portion of the bacterial community. The observed similar response by microbial communities from beaches with a different recent history of oil exposure suggests that Gulf Coast beach communities are

  18. The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degradation potential of Gulf of Mexico native coastal microbial communities after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    PubMed

    Kappell, Anthony D; Wei, Yin; Newton, Ryan J; Van Nostrand, Joy D; Zhou, Jizhong; McLellan, Sandra L; Hristova, Krassimira R

    2014-01-01

    The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout resulted in oil transport, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. The microbial communities of these shorelines are thought to be responsible for the intrinsic degradation of PAHs. To investigate the Gulf Coast beach microbial community response to hydrocarbon exposure, we examined the functional gene diversity, bacterial community composition, and PAH degradation capacity of a heavily oiled and non-oiled beach following the oil exposure. With a non-expression functional gene microarray targeting 539 gene families, we detected 28,748 coding sequences. Of these sequences, 10% were uniquely associated with the severely oil-contaminated beach and 6.0% with the non-oiled beach. There was little variation in the functional genes detected between the two beaches; however the relative abundance of functional genes involved in oil degradation pathways, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), were greater in the oiled beach. The microbial PAH degradation potentials of both beaches, were tested in mesocosms. Mesocosms were constructed in glass columns using sands with native microbial communities, circulated with artificial sea water and challenged with a mixture of PAHs. The low-molecular weight PAHs, fluorene and naphthalene, showed rapid depletion in all mesocosms while the high-molecular weight benzo[α]pyrene was not degraded by either microbial community. Both the heavily oiled and the non-impacted coastal communities showed little variation in their biodegradation ability for low molecular weight PAHs. Massively-parallel sequencing of 16S rRNA genes from mesocosm DNA showed that known PAH degraders and genera frequently associated with oil hydrocarbon degradation represented a major portion of the bacterial community. The observed similar response by microbial communities from beaches with a different recent history of oil exposure suggests that Gulf Coast beach communities are

  19. Observations of bubbles in natural seep flares at MC 118 and GC 600 using in situ quantitative imaging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Binbin; Socolofsky, Scott A.; Breier, John A.; Seewald, Jeffrey S.

    2016-04-01

    This paper reports the results of quantitative imaging using a stereoscopic, high-speed camera system at two natural gas seep sites in the northern Gulf of Mexico during the Gulf Integrated Spill Research G07 cruise in July 2014. The cruise was conducted on the E/V Nautilus using the ROV Hercules for in situ observation of the seeps as surrogates for the behavior of hydrocarbon bubbles in subsea blowouts. The seeps originated between 890 and 1190 m depth in Mississippi Canyon block 118 and Green Canyon block 600. The imaging system provided qualitative assessment of bubble behavior (e.g., breakup and coalescence) and verified the formation of clathrate hydrate skins on all bubbles above 1.3 m altitude. Quantitative image analysis yielded the bubble size distributions, rise velocity, total gas flux, and void fraction, with most measurements conducted from the seafloor to an altitude of 200 m. Bubble size distributions fit well to lognormal distributions, with median bubble sizes between 3 and 4.5 mm. Measurements of rise velocity fluctuated between two ranges: fast-rising bubbles following helical-type trajectories and bubbles rising about 40% slower following a zig-zag pattern. Rise speed was uncorrelated with hydrate formation, and bubbles following both speeds were observed at both sites. Ship-mounted multibeam sonar provided the flare rise heights, which corresponded closely with the boundary of the hydrate stability zone for the measured gas compositions. The evolution of bubble size with height agreed well with mass transfer rates predicted by equations for dirty bubbles.

  20. Marine cold seeps and their manifestations: geological control, biogeochemical criteria and environmental conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suess, Erwin

    2014-10-01

    Characteristics of cold seeps at different geologic settings are the subject of this review primarily based on results of the Research Consortium SFB 574. Criteria are drawn from examples on the erosive convergent margin off Costa Rica, the accretionary margin off Chile supplemented by examples from the transform margin of the Golf of Cadiz and the convergent Hikurangi margin off New Zealand. Others are from well-studied passive margins of the Black Sea, the Golf of Mexico, the eastern Mediterranean Sea and the South China Sea. Seeps at all settings transport water and dissolved compounds to the ocean through the seafloor by different forcing mechanism and from different depths of the submerged geosphere (10s of meters to 10s of km). The compounds sustain oasis-type ecosystems by providing bioactive reductants sulfide, methane and hydrogen. Hereby, the interaction between fluid composition, flux rates and biota results in a diagnostic hydrocarbon-metazoan-microbe-carbonate association; currently, well over 100 active sites are known. The single most important reaction is microbially mediated anaerobic oxidation of methane with secondary reactions involving S-biogeochemistry and carbonate mineral precipitation. Seep fluids and their seafloor manifestations provide clues as to source depth, fluid-sediment/rock interaction during ascent, lifetime and cyclicity of seepage events but less so on the magnitude of return flow. At erosive margins, Cl-depleted and B-enriched fluids from clay dehydration provide criteria for source depth and temperature. The upward material flow generates mud volcanoes at the seafloor above the projected location of dehydration at depth. At accretionary margins, fluids are derived from more shallow depths by compaction of sediments as they ride on the incoming oceanic plate; they are emitted through thrust faults. At highly sedimented margins, organic-rich and evaporite-containing strata (when present) determine the final fluid composition

  1. Preliminary Analysis of Manual and Automated Seep Detection in Multibeam Water-Column Backscatter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKenna, L.; Auner, L.; Weller, E.; Paton, M.; Doucet, M.; Lobecker, E.

    2014-12-01

    Identifying and locating gaseous seafloor seeps using multibeam sonar water-column backscatter is a growing interest in the scientific, energy, and resource management communities. Until recently, seeps were manually detected when viewing water-column backscatter returns in post-processing software. This manual procedure is time consuming and subjective. To examine this subjectivity, the NOAA Office of Exploration and Research conducted a quality control test using data collected during an expedition aboard the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in the Gulf of Mexico from March to April, 2014. Water-column backscatter data was post-processed underway in FMMidwater and seep coordinates were manually geopicked from the beam fan. Ten percent of the original survey lines were independently re-processed using the same manual detection methods but with a different observer. Results show that manual seep selection can be highly variable between two different individuals. To help reduce this subjectivity and time required to manually detect seeps, QPS, Inc. developed a Feature Detection Tool for FMMidwater that uses an algorithm developed by the University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping. To test the tool, the 10% subset of survey lines were run through the Feature Detection Tool using default settings, and the automatically detected seeps were compared with the manual geopicks. Not surprisingly, initial results show there can be variability between manual and algorithm seeps. Scrutiny of the automatic picks shows that the tool identified 60% of the seeps detected, and verified, by the independent manually-detecting observers. 32% of the seeps identified manually were missed by the tool, but 8% additional seeps were identified by the algorithm that had been missed through manual detection. The automatic detection showed several false positives, requiring manual intervention, but at a significantly lower level of effort than manual scrutinization of the raw

  2. The effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on seabed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon dynamics in the Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Mitra, Siddhartha; Lalicata, Joseph J; Allison, Mead A; Dellapenna, Timothy M

    2009-06-01

    To assess the extent to which Hurricanes Katrina and Rita affected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), sediment cores were analyzed in late 2005 from: a shallow shelf, a deeper shelf, and a marsh station. Sediment geochronology, fabric, and geochemistry show that the 2005 storms deposited approximately 10cm of sediment to the surface of a core at 5-12A. Bulk carbon geochemistry and PAH isomers in this top layer suggest that the source of sediment to the top portion of core 5-12A was from a relatively more marine area. Particulate PAHs in the marsh core (04M) appeared unaffected by the storms while sediments in the core from Station 5-1B (deeper shelf) were affected minimally (some possible storm-derived deposition). Substantial amounts of PAH-laden particles may have been displaced from the seabed in shallow areas of the water column in the GOM by these 2005 storms.

  3. Benthic foraminifera of bathyal hydrocarbon vents of the Gulf of Mexico: Initial report on communities and stable isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sen Gupta, Barun K.; Aharon, Paul

    1994-06-01

    Substrates associated with active hydrocarbon vents in bathyal Gulf of Mexico support numerous foraminiferal species, with a few of them showing unusually high relative abundances. In the 584- to 695-m-depth range,Bolivina ordinaria, Gavelinopsis translucens, andCassidulina neocarinata strongly dominate the vent community, whereasBolivina subaenariensis andUvigerina laevis play this role around a vent at 216 m water depth. The bathymetric imprint on the foraminiferal record is also seen in theδ 18O compositions of some species, includingUvigerina peregrina. The adaptation of foraminiferal communities to bacterial (Beggiatoa) mats, in which the redox boundary is very close to the sediment—water interface, and anomalous depletions of13C inU. peregrina (relative to the same species from nonventing sites) indicate that several species are probably facultative anaerobes and tolerant of H2S toxicity.

  4. Concentrations and sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in surface coastal sediments of the northern Gulf of Mexico

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Coastal sediments in the northern Gulf of Mexico have a high potential of being contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), due to extensive petroleum exploration and transportation activities. In this study we evaluated the spatial distribution and contamination sources of PAHs, as well as the bioavailable fraction in the bulk PAH pool, in surface marsh and shelf sediments (top 5 cm) of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Results PAH concentrations in this region ranged from 100 to 856 ng g−1, with the highest concentrations in Mississippi River mouth sediments followed by marsh sediments and then the lowest concentrations in shelf sediments. The PAH concentrations correlated positively with atomic C/N ratios of sedimentary organic matter (OM), suggesting that terrestrial OM preferentially sorbs PAHs relative to marine OM. PAHs with 2 rings were more abundant than those with 5–6 rings in continental shelf sediments, while the opposite was found in marsh sediments. This distribution pattern suggests different contamination sources between shelf and marsh sediments. Based on diagnostic ratios of PAH isomers and principal component analysis, shelf sediment PAHs were petrogenic and those from marsh sediments were pyrogenic. The proportions of bioavailable PAHs in total PAHs were low, ranging from 0.02% to 0.06%, with higher fractions found in marsh than shelf sediments. Conclusion PAH distribution and composition differences between marsh and shelf sediments were influenced by grain size, contamination sources, and the types of organic matter associated with PAHs. Concentrations of PAHs in the study area were below effects low-range, suggesting a low risk to organisms and limited transfer of PAHs into food web. From the source analysis, PAHs in shelf sediments mainly originated from direct petroleum contamination, while those in marsh sediments were from combustion of fossil fuels. PMID:24641695

  5. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in chronically petroleum-contaminated soils in Mexico and the effects of petroleum hydrocarbons on spore germination.

    PubMed

    Franco-Ramírez, Alicia; Ferrera-Cerrato, Ronald; Varela-Fregoso, Lucía; Pérez-Moreno, Jesús; Alarcón, Alejandro

    2007-10-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) have been hypothesized to enhance plant adaptation and growth in petroleum-contaminated soils. Nevertheless, neither AMF-biodiversity under chronically petroleum-contaminated soils nor spore germination response to petroleum hydrocarbons has been well studied. Chronically petroleum-contaminated rhizosphere soil and roots from Echinochloa polystachya, Citrus aurantifolia and C. aurantium were collected from Activo Cinco Presidentes, Tabasco, Mexico. Root colonization and spore abundance were evaluated. Additionally, rhizosphere soil samples were propagated using Sorghum vulgare L. as a plant trap under greenhouse conditions; subsequently, AMF-spores were identified. AMF-colonization ranged from 63 to 77% while spore number ranged from 715 to 912 in 100 g soil, suggesting that AMF tolerate the presence of petroleum hydrocarbons in the rhizosphere. From grass species, four AMF-morphospecies were identified: Glomus ambisporum, G. sinuosum (previously described as Sclerocystis sinuosum), Acaulospora laevis, and Ambispora gerdermanni. From citrus trees, four AMF-species were also identified: Scutellospora heterogama, G. ambisporum, Acaulospora scrobiculata, and G. citricola. In a second study, it was observed that spore germination and hyphal length of G. mosseae, G. ambisporum, and S. heterogama were significantly reduced by either volatile compounds of crude oil or increased concentrations of benzo[a ]pyrene or phenanthrene in water-agar.

  6. Distribution and Attenuation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Gulf of Mexico Seawater from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Accident.

    PubMed

    Boehm, Paul D; Murray, Karen J; Cook, Linda L

    2016-01-19

    The extended duration of the oil release from the Deepwater Horizon accident (April 20-July 15, 2010) triggered a need to characterize environmental exposures in four dimensions through sampling and tracking the changes in distributions, concentrations, and compositions of oil and total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (TPAH) in the Gulf of Mexico over time and space. More than 11,000 water samples were collected offshore during more than 100 cruises and were measured for 50 parent and alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Elevated concentrations (greater than 1 ppb) of TPAH were largely limited to an area within about 20 km of the wellhead in the subsurface deepwaters at 1000-1200 m depth to the southwest of the wellhead and in the top 3 m underlying the surface oil. Concentrations decreased with distance and time, and changes in the PAH composition indicate that these changes were due to differential solubilization, photodegradation, evaporation, and/or biodegradation of individual PAH compounds. These limited areas of elevated PAH concentrations disappeared within weeks after the release was stopped.

  7. Impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on bioavailable polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Gulf of Mexico coastal waters

    PubMed Central

    Allan, Sarah E.; Smith, Brian W.; Anderson, Kim A.

    2012-01-01

    An estimated 4.1 million barrels of oil and 2.1 million gallons of dispersants were released into the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. There is a continued need for information about the impacts and long-term effects of the disaster on the Gulf of Mexico. The objectives of this study were to assess bioavailable polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the coastal waters of four Gulf Coast states that were impacted by the spill. For over a year, beginning in May 2010, passive sampling devices were used to monitor the bioavailable concentration of PAHs. Prior to shoreline oiling, baseline data were obtained at all the study sites, allowing for direct before and after comparisons of PAH contamination. Significant increases in bioavailable PAHs were seen following the oil spill, however, pre-oiling levels were observed at all sites by March, 2011. A return to elevated PAH concentrations, accompanied by a chemical fingerprint similar to that observed while the site was being impacted by the spill, was observed in Alabama in summer, 2011. Chemical forensic modeling demonstrated that elevated PAH concentrations are associated with distinctive chemical profiles. PMID:22321043

  8. Carbon isotope geochemistry of hydrocarbons in the Cerro Prieto geothermal field, Baja California Norte, Mexico

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Des Marais, D. J.; Stallard, M. L.; Nehring, N. L.; Truesdell, A. H.

    1988-01-01

    Hydrocarbon abundances and stable-isotopic compositions were measured in wells M5, M26, M35 and M102, which represent a range of depths (1270-2000 m) and temperatures (275-330 degrees C) in the field. In order to simulate the production of the geothermal hydrocarbons, gases were collected from the pyrolysis of lignite in the laboratory. This lignite was obtained from a well which sampled rock strata which are identical to those occurring in the field, but which have experienced much lower subsurface temperatures. In both the well and the laboratory observations, high-temperature environments favored higher relative concentrations of methane, ethane and benzene and generally higher delta 13C-values in the individual hydrocarbons. The best correlation between the laboratory and well data is obtained when laboratory-produced gases from experiments conducted at lower (400 degrees C) and higher (600 degrees C) temperatures are mixed. This improved correlation suggests that the wells are sampling hydrocarbons produced from a spectrum of depths and temperatures in the sediments.

  9. Carbon isotope geochemistry of hydrocarbons in the Cerro Prieto geothermal field, Baja California Norte, Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Des Marais, D.J.; Stallard, M.L.; Nehring, N.L.; Truesdell, A.H.

    1988-01-01

    Hydrocarbon abundances and stable-isotopic compositions were measured in wells M5, M26, M35 and M102, which represent a range of depths (1270-2000 m) and temperatures (275-330??C) in the field. In order to simulate the production of the geothermal hydrocarbons, gases were collected from the pyrolysis of lignite in the laboratory. This lignite was obtained from a well which sampled rock strata which are identical to those occurring in the field, but which have experienced much lower subsurface temperatures. In both the well and the laboratory observations, high-temperature environments favored higher relative concentrations of methane, ethane and benzene and generally higher ??13C-values in the individual hydrocarbons. The best correlation between the laboratory and well data is obtained when laboratory-produced gases from experiments conducted at lower (400??C) and higher (600??C) temperatures are mixed. This improved correlation suggests that the wells are sampling hydrocarbons produced from a spectrum of depths and temperatures in the sediments. ?? 1988.

  10. Carbon isotope geochemistry of hydrocarbons in the Cerro Prieto geothermal field, Baja California Norte, Mexico

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Des Marais, D. J.; Stallard, M. L.; Nehring, N. L.; Truesdell, A. H.

    1988-01-01

    Hydrocarbon abundances and stable-isotopic compositions were measured in wells M5, M26, M35 and M102, which represent a range of depths (1270-2000 m) and temperatures (275-330 degrees C) in the field. In order to simulate the production of the geothermal hydrocarbons, gases were collected from the pyrolysis of lignite in the laboratory. This lignite was obtained from a well which sampled rock strata which are identical to those occurring in the field, but which have experienced much lower subsurface temperatures. In both the well and the laboratory observations, high-temperature environments favored higher relative concentrations of methane, ethane and benzene and generally higher delta 13C-values in the individual hydrocarbons. The best correlation between the laboratory and well data is obtained when laboratory-produced gases from experiments conducted at lower (400 degrees C) and higher (600 degrees C) temperatures are mixed. This improved correlation suggests that the wells are sampling hydrocarbons produced from a spectrum of depths and temperatures in the sediments.

  11. Geomicrobiological linkages between short-chain alkane consumption and sulfate reduction rates in seep sediments.

    PubMed

    Bose, Arpita; Rogers, Daniel R; Adams, Melissa M; Joye, Samantha B; Girguis, Peter R

    2013-01-01

    Marine hydrocarbon seeps are ecosystems that are rich in methane, and, in some cases, short-chain (C2-C5) and longer alkanes. C2-C4 alkanes such as ethane, propane, and butane can be significant components of seeping fluids. Some sulfate-reducing microbes oxidize short-chain alkanes anaerobically, and may play an important role in both the competition for sulfate and the local carbon budget. To better understand the anaerobic oxidation of short-chain n-alkanes coupled with sulfate-reduction, hydrocarbon-rich sediments from the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) were amended with artificial, sulfate-replete seawater and one of four n-alkanes (C1-C4) then incubated under strict anaerobic conditions. Measured rates of alkane oxidation and sulfate reduction closely follow stoichiometric predictions that assume the complete oxidation of alkanes to CO2 (though other sinks for alkane carbon likely exist). Changes in the δ(13)C of all the alkanes in the reactors show enrichment over the course of the incubation, with the C3 and C4 incubations showing the greatest enrichment (4.4 and 4.5‰, respectively). The concurrent depletion in the δ(13)C of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) implies a transfer of carbon from the alkane to the DIC pool (-3.5 and -6.7‰ for C3 and C4 incubations, respectively). Microbial community analyses reveal that certain members of the class Deltaproteobacteria are selectively enriched as the incubations degrade C1-C4 alkanes. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that distinct phylotypes are enriched in the ethane reactors, while phylotypes in the propane and butane reactors align with previously identified C3-C4 alkane-oxidizing sulfate-reducers. These data further constrain the potential influence of alkane oxidation on sulfate reduction rates (SRRs) in cold hydrocarbon-rich sediments, provide insight into their contribution to local carbon cycling, and illustrate the extent to which short-chain alkanes can serve as electron donors and govern microbial community

  12. Geomicrobiological linkages between short-chain alkane consumption and sulfate reduction rates in seep sediments

    PubMed Central

    Bose, Arpita; Rogers, Daniel R.; Adams, Melissa M.; Joye, Samantha B.; Girguis, Peter R.

    2013-01-01

    Marine hydrocarbon seeps are ecosystems that are rich in methane, and, in some cases, short-chain (C2–C5) and longer alkanes. C2–C4 alkanes such as ethane, propane, and butane can be significant components of seeping fluids. Some sulfate-reducing microbes oxidize short-chain alkanes anaerobically, and may play an important role in both the competition for sulfate and the local carbon budget. To better understand the anaerobic oxidation of short-chain n-alkanes coupled with sulfate-reduction, hydrocarbon-rich sediments from the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) were amended with artificial, sulfate-replete seawater and one of four n-alkanes (C1–C4) then incubated under strict anaerobic conditions. Measured rates of alkane oxidation and sulfate reduction closely follow stoichiometric predictions that assume the complete oxidation of alkanes to CO2 (though other sinks for alkane carbon likely exist). Changes in the δ13C of all the alkanes in the reactors show enrichment over the course of the incubation, with the C3 and C4 incubations showing the greatest enrichment (4.4 and 4.5‰, respectively). The concurrent depletion in the δ13C of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) implies a transfer of carbon from the alkane to the DIC pool (−3.5 and −6.7‰ for C3 and C4 incubations, respectively). Microbial community analyses reveal that certain members of the class Deltaproteobacteria are selectively enriched as the incubations degrade C1–C4 alkanes. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that distinct phylotypes are enriched in the ethane reactors, while phylotypes in the propane and butane reactors align with previously identified C3–C4 alkane-oxidizing sulfate-reducers. These data further constrain the potential influence of alkane oxidation on sulfate reduction rates (SRRs) in cold hydrocarbon-rich sediments, provide insight into their contribution to local carbon cycling, and illustrate the extent to which short-chain alkanes can serve as electron donors and govern microbial

  13. The impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on petroleum hydrocarbons in surface waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Zhanfei; Liu, Jiqing; Gardner, Wayne S.; Shank, G. Christopher; Ostrom, Nathaniel E.

    2016-07-01

    This study evaluated impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill on petroleum hydrocarbons in surface waters of the Louisiana continental shelf in northern Gulf of Mexico. Surface water ( top 5 cm) without visible oil was collected from three cruises in May 2010 during the oil spill, August 2010 after the well was capped, and May 2011 one year after the spill. Concentrations of total dissolved n-alkanes (C9-C35) in surface seawater were more than an order of magnitude higher in May 2010 than August 2010 and May 2011, indicating contamination by the DWH oil spill. This conclusion was further supported by more abundant smaller n-alkanes (C9-C13), together with pristane and phytane, in May than August 2010 samples. In contrast, even carbon-numbered dissolved n-alkanes (C14-C20) dominated the May 2011 samples, and this distribution pattern of dissolved n-alkanes is the first documentation for water samples in the northern Gulf of Mexico. However, this pattern was not observed in May 2011 suspended particles except for Sta. OSS. This decoupling between dissolved and particle compositions suggests that either these even carbon-numbered n-alkanes originated from bacteria rather than algae, or that the alkanes in the shelf were transported from elsewhere. Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in suspended particles were 5 times higher on average in May 2010 (83-252 ng L-1) than May 2011 (7.2-83 ng L-1), also indicating contamination by the DWH oil spill. Application of a biomarker ratio of 17α(H),21β(H)-30-norhopane over 17α(H),21β(H)-hopane confirmed that suspended particles from at least two stations were contaminated by the DWH oil spill in May 2010. Taken together, these results showed that surface waters of the sampling area in May 2010 were contaminated by the oil spill, but also that rapid weathering and/or physical dilution quickly reduced hydrocarbon levels by August 2010.

  14. Consideration of the oasis analogy for chemosynthetic communities at Gulf of Mexico hydrocarbon vents

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carney, Robert S.

    1994-06-01

    The analogy between desert oasis and deep-sea chemosynthetic community arose from the biomass contrast between vents and the relatively depauperate background benthic fauna. Fully developed, the analogy helps pose questions about interactions with the background fauna with respect to resources, colonization, and persistence. The chemosynthetic sites of the Gulf of Mexico provide an opportunity to consider possible interactions between vent and nonvent fauna over a 3000-m depth range. It is postulated that deep chemosynthetic communities require the operation of geochemical transporting and concentrating processes to overcome low levels of in situ methane and sulfide production. Clathrate reservoirs may serve these functions. A few chemosynthetic species at the Gulf of Mexico upper slope sites are related to shallow-water sulfide species, but it can be speculated that the dominant chemosynthetic fauna may have originated in a wide spread deep sulfide biome of the Cretaceous. Generic endemism of consumers is low in Gulf of Mexico sites, suggesting a high level of colonization from the surrounding benthos. Chemosynthetic communities may avoid excessive colonization by predators in spite of the apparent food limitation of the surrounding benthos due to toxicity or an evolutionary mechanism selecting against specialized predators. The abundance of large predators is related to the composition of the surrounding benthos and is high at the Gulf of Mexico upper slope sites. Exclusion of chemosyntheic communities from shallower depths may be due to excessive predation by generalists.

  15. SeepC: Preliminary Characterization of Atlantic Margin Seep Ecosystems from Norfolk Canyon to New England Seep Sites.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turner, P. J.; Ball, B.; Cole, E.; LaBella, A.; Wagner, J.; Van Dover, C. L.; Skarke, A. D.; Ruppel, C. D.

    2015-12-01

    Since 2013, more than 500 seep sites have been located along the continental margin of the eastern US using acoustic signals of gas plumes in the water column. During a July 2015 R/V Atlantis expedition, scientists used the submersible Alvin to explore seep sites at depths of 300 to 1500 m. Study sites ranged from Norfolk Canyon north to New England Seep 2 and included Baltimore, Veatch, and Shallop Canyon sites, as well as new unnamed sites between Norfolk and Baltimore Canyons. Mussels dominated the seep sites (cf ''Bathymodiolus'' childressi) but only small populations (<10s of individuals) were observed at seep sites associated with Shallop Canyon. B. heckerae, the dominant mussel at the Blake Ridge and Cape Fear seep sites (sites associated with salt diapirs off the Carolinas), appear to be present at only one of the Atlantic Margin seeps. At the Norfolk Canyon site, dead B. heckerae shells were observed and live individuals may be within the explored area. The abundant vesicomyid clam of Blake Ridge and Cape Fear sites was absent at the continental margin seeps. Apart from B. childressi, the most conspicuous megafaunal invertebrate species at the newly explored seeps was the red crab, Chaceon sp. and the rock crab, Cancer sp. These crabs are not seep endemic but they were especially abundant at the seeps and were observed to feed and mate on the seep grounds. Molecular tools will be used to explore the genetic structure of mussel populations from Norfolk to New England seeps, and stable isotope methods will be used to test for differences among sites in the source of carbon used by mussels. Alvin video transects and photo-mosaics will be used to collect data on macrofauna associated with seeps and to test the hypothesis that shallow seeps (300-500m) support more diverse assemblages than deep sites (1000-1500m).

  16. Presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in apple in rural terrains from Mexico City.

    PubMed

    Salinas, Rutilio Ortiz; González, Gilberto Díaz; Bermudez, Beatriz Schettino; Tolentino, Rey Gutiérrez; Vega Y León, Salvador

    2010-08-01

    This paper describes PAH concentrations in apple crops that are growing in rural terrains in Mexico City. The concentrations of individual PAHs showed great variability, there being low and high molecular weight compounds in dry (high molecular weight for Tlahuac 7.06 microg/g and Milpa Alta 3.96 microg/g) and wet months (high molecular weight for Tlahuac 11.25 microg/g and Milpa Alta 12.05 microg/g). Some PAHs indicators and cross plot ratios Ant/(Ant + Phe) and Flu/(Flu + Pyr) define fossil fuels and vegetation combustion as the source of contamination over the cuticle of the apples. It is likely that deposition (dry and wet) is the principal source o f contamination over the apple surface. This study reveals the presence of PAHs in apples due to the high air contamination of Mexico City.

  17. Non-methane hydrocarbons in the atmosphere of Mexico City: Results of the 2012 ozone-season campaign

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jaimes-Palomera, Mónica; Retama, Armando; Elias-Castro, Gabriel; Neria-Hernández, Angélica; Rivera-Hernández, Olivia; Velasco, Erik

    2016-05-01

    With the aim to strengthen the verification capabilities of the local air quality management, the air quality monitoring network of Mexico City has started the monitoring of selected non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs). Previous information on the NMHC characterization had been obtained through individual studies and comprehensive intensive field campaigns, in both cases restricted to sampling periods of short duration. This new initiative will address the NMHC pollution problem during longer monitoring periods and provide robust information to evaluate the effectiveness of new control measures. The article introduces the design of the monitoring network and presents results from the first campaign carried out during the first six months of 2012 covering the ozone-season (Mar-May). Using as reference data collected in 2003, results show reductions during the morning rush hour (6-9 h) in the mixing ratios of light alkanes associated with the consumption and distribution of liquefied petroleum gas and aromatic compounds related with the evaporation of fossil fuels and solvents, in contrast to olefins from vehicular traffic. The increase in mixing ratios of reactive olefins is of relevance to understand the moderate success in the ozone and fine aerosols abatement in recent years in comparison to other criteria pollutants. In the case of isoprene, the typical afternoon peak triggered by biogenic emissions was clearly observed for the first time within the city. The diurnal profiles of the monitored compounds are analyzed in terms of the energy balance throughout the day as a surrogate of the boundary layer evolution. Particular features of the diurnal profiles and correlation between individual NMHCs and carbon monoxide are used to investigate the influence of specific emission sources. The results discussed here highlight the importance of monitoring NMHCs to better understand the drivers and impacts of air pollution in large cities like Mexico City.

  18. Identification of Methanotrophic Biomarker Lipids in the Symbiont-Containing Gills of Seep Mussels

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jahnke, L. L.; Zahiralis, K. D.; Klein, H. P.; Morrison, David (Technical Monitor)

    1994-01-01

    Mussels collected from hydrocarbon seeps in the Gulf of Mexico grow with methane as sole carbon and energy source due to a symbiotic association with methane-oxidizing bacteria. Transmission electron micrographs of mussel gills show cells with stacked intracytoplasmic membranes similar to type I methanotrophic bacteria. Methanotrophs are known to synthesize several types of cyclic triterpenes, hopanoids and methyl sterols, as well as unique monounsaturated fatty acid, double bond positional isomers that serve as biomarkers for this group. Lipid analysis of dissected mussels demonstrated the presence of these biomarkers predominantly in the gill tissue with much smaller amounts in mantle and remaining body tissues. Gill tissue contained 1150 micrograms/g dry wt. of hopanepolyol derivatives and diplopterol while the mantle tissue contained only 17 micrograms/g. The C16 monounsaturated fatty acids (16:1) characteristic of type I methanotrophic membranes dominated the gill tissue making up 53% of the total while only 5% 16:1 was present in the mantle tissue. The methyl sterol distribution was more dispersed. The predominant sterol in all tissues was cholesterol with lesser amounts of other desmethyl and 4-methyl sterols. The gill and mantle tissues contained 3461 micrograms (17% methyl) and 2750 micrograms (5% methyl) sterol per gm dry wt., respectively. Methyl sterol accounted for 44% of the sterol esters isolated from the gill, suggesting active demethylation of the methanotrophic sterols in this tissue. The use of lipid biomarkers could provide an effective means for identifying host-symbiont relationships.

  19. Identification of Methanotrophic Biomarker Lipids in the Symbiont-Containing Gills of Seep Mussels

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jahnke, L. L.; Zahiralis, K. D.; Klein, H. P.; Morrison, David (Technical Monitor)

    1994-01-01

    Mussels collected from hydrocarbon seeps in the Gulf of Mexico grow with methane as sole carbon and energy source due to a symbiotic association with methane-oxidizing bacteria. Transmission electron micrographs of mussel gills show cells with stacked intracytoplasmic membranes similar to type I methanotrophic bacteria. Methanotrophs are known to synthesize several types of cyclic triterpenes, hopanoids and methyl sterols, as well as unique monounsaturated fatty acid, double bond positional isomers that serve as biomarkers for this group. Lipid analysis of dissected mussels demonstrated the presence of these biomarkers predominantly in the gill tissue with much smaller amounts in mantle and remaining body tissues. Gill tissue contained 1150 micrograms/g dry wt. of hopanepolyol derivatives and diplopterol while the mantle tissue contained only 17 micrograms/g. The C16 monounsaturated fatty acids (16:1) characteristic of type I methanotrophic membranes dominated the gill tissue making up 53% of the total while only 5% 16:1 was present in the mantle tissue. The methyl sterol distribution was more dispersed. The predominant sterol in all tissues was cholesterol with lesser amounts of other desmethyl and 4-methyl sterols. The gill and mantle tissues contained 3461 micrograms (17% methyl) and 2750 micrograms (5% methyl) sterol per gm dry wt., respectively. Methyl sterol accounted for 44% of the sterol esters isolated from the gill, suggesting active demethylation of the methanotrophic sterols in this tissue. The use of lipid biomarkers could provide an effective means for identifying host-symbiont relationships.

  20. Evidences of the Presence of Methane Seeps in the Colombian Caribbean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gracia, Adriana; Rangel-Buitrago, Nelson; Sellanes, Javier

    2010-05-01

    For the first time in the southern Caribbean Sea Margin of Colombia (between 450 - 700 m deep) we confirm the presence of methane seep communities near the deltas of the Magdalena and Sinu rivers. Some evidences of the occurrence of those communities include: i) bivalves constituents of marine chemosynthesis-based communities, which are indicators of reducing environments as vesicomyid and lucinid bivalves (Vesicomya caribbea, Calyptogena ponderosa, Ectenagena modioliforma, Lucinoma spp. and Graecina colombiensis), together with the rare solemyid clam Acharax caribbaea, ii) other seep-associated fauna such as the trochid snail Cataegis meroglypta, iii) the first report of vestimentiferan tubeworms for the area and, iv) the presence of authigenic carbonates; these constructions form hard substrates colonized by sessile fauna. Additionally, more than 20 species of benthic non-seep fauna were found associated in the area. The collected fauna exhibits an elevated taxonomic similarity to other modern and fossil seep communities from the Caribbean (Barbados Prism, Gulf of Mexico, Cenozoic seep taxa from Barbados, Trinidad and Venezuela). The presence of these chemosymbiotic species seems to be related to mud diapirism activity in the South West of the Colombian coast, this geologic characteristic indicates tectonic and depositional processes associated with the aforementioned deltas. Further research is necessary to establish biological and geological interactions, geochemical and geophysical controls, and organization of cold seeps communities in this unexplored area of the Caribbean. Keywords: Methane, Chemosynthesis-based communities,Bivalves, Mud diapirs, Colombian Caribbean Sea

  1. Short-chain alkanes fuel mussel and sponge Cycloclasticus symbionts from deep-sea gas and oil seeps.

    PubMed

    Rubin-Blum, Maxim; Antony, Chakkiath Paul; Borowski, Christian; Sayavedra, Lizbeth; Pape, Thomas; Sahling, Heiko; Bohrmann, Gerhard; Kleiner, Manuel; Redmond, Molly C; Valentine, David L; Dubilier, Nicole

    2017-06-19

    Cycloclasticus bacteria are ubiquitous in oil-rich regions of the ocean and are known for their ability to degrade polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In this study, we describe Cycloclasticus that have established a symbiosis with Bathymodiolus heckerae mussels and poecilosclerid sponges from asphalt-rich, deep-sea oil seeps at Campeche Knolls in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Genomic and transcriptomic analyses revealed that, in contrast to all previously known Cycloclasticus, the symbiotic Cycloclasticus appears to lack the genes needed for PAH degradation. Instead, these symbionts use propane and other short-chain alkanes such as ethane and butane as carbon and energy sources, thus expanding the limited range of substrates known to power chemosynthetic symbioses. Analyses of short-chain alkanes in the environment of the Campeche Knolls symbioses revealed that these are present at high concentrations (in the μM to mM range). Comparative genomic analyses revealed high similarities between the genes used by the symbiotic Cycloclasticus to degrade short-chain alkanes and those of free-living Cycloclasticus that bloomed during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Our results indicate that the metabolic versatility of bacteria within the Cycloclasticus clade is higher than previously assumed, and highlight the expanded role of these keystone species in the degradation of marine hydrocarbons.

  2. Beggiatoa in microbial mats at hydrocarbon vents in the Gulf of Mexico and Warm Mineral Springs, Florida

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larkin, John; Henk, Margaret C.; Aharon, Paul

    1994-06-01

    Microbial mats were collected from a variety of sites near hydrocarbon vents along the slope in the northern Gulf of Mexico and, for comparison, from Warm Mineral Springs, Florida, USA. A predominant microorganism in each of the mats was the giant bacterium,Beggiatoa. Diameters of the bacterial filaments ranged from about 6 µm to approximately 200 µm. The latter organisms are the largest prokaryotic organisms yet found. All filaments over about 10 µm in diameter contained a large central vacuole, producing a cell with the cytoplasm as a cylindrical tube underlying the cytoplasmic membrane. Sulfur globules were confined to this peripheral layer. Push cores often contained pyrite tubules whose appearance is suggestive of aBeggiatoa origin. Determinations ofδ 13C inBeggiatoa mats from vents along the Louisiana slope yielded values in the range of -26.6 to -27.9‰ (PDB), suggesting an unusually high degree of isotope fractionation (-24.9‰) relative to the carbon source in the ambient seawater, which is typical of sulfur-oxidizing chemoautotrophs. The presence of SO (elemental sulfur) within cells ofBeggiatoa resulting from oxidation of H2S supports the importance of bacterial sulfate reduction processes in the underlying vents for the sustenance of theBeggiatoa mats.

  3. (234)Th as a tracer of vertical transport of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Adhikari, Puspa L; Maiti, Kanchan; Bosu, Somiddho; Jones, Patrick R

    2016-06-15

    Particle-mediated vertical flux of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) plays an important role in their removal from upper oceans and sets a limit on the amount delivered to the deep-sea sediments. In this study, we applied a one-dimensional steady-state (234)Th scavenging model to estimate vertical flux of PAHs in the northern Gulf of Mexico and compared them with sediment trap based flux estimates. The (234)Th-based ∑PAH43 fluxes were 6.7±1.0μgm(-2)d(-1) and 3.7±0.6μgm(-2)d(-1) while sediment trap-based fluxes were 4.0±0.6μgm(-2)d(-1) and 4.5±0.7μgm(-2)d(-1) at 150m and 250m, respectively. Alkylated homologues contributed to 80% of the total PAH fluxes which is in contrary to other regions where combustion derived parent PAHs dominate the fluxes. The results indicate that the (238)U-(234)Th disequilibria can be an effective tracer of particulate PAH fluxes in upper mesopelagic zones and can provide flux estimates with high spatial coverage needed to quantify their long term fate and transport in the marine systems.

  4. Black carbon and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emissions from vehicles in the United States-Mexico border region: pilot study.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Kerry; Wagner, David; Lighty, JoAnn; Quintero Núñez, Margarito; Vazquez, F Adrian; Collins, Kimberly; Barud-Zubillaga, Alberto

    2006-03-01

    The investigators developed a system to measure black carbon (BC) and particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emission factors during roadside sampling in four cities along the United States-Mexico border, Calexico/Mexicali and El Paso/Juarez. The measurement system included a photoacoustic analyzer for BC, a photoelectric aerosol sensor for particle-bound PAHs, and a carbon dioxide (CO2) analyzer. When a vehicle with measurable emissions passed the system probe, corresponding BC, PAH, and CO2 peaks were evident, and a fuel-based emission factor was estimated. A picture of each vehicle was also recorded with a digital camera. The advantage of this system, compared with other roadside methods, is the direct measurement of particulate matter components and limited interference from roadside dust. The study revealed some interesting trends: Mexican buses and all medium-duty trucks were more frequently identified as high emitters of BC and PAH than heavy-duty trucks or passenger vehicles. In addition, because of the high daily mileage of buses, they are good candidates for additional study. Mexican trucks and buses had higher average emission factors compared with U.S. trucks and buses, but the differences were not statistically significant. Few passenger vehicles had measurable BC and PAH emissions, although the highest emission factor came from an older model passenger vehicle licensed in Baja California.

  5. Changes in Microbial and Phytoplankton Communities in Response to Oil and Nutrients in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Correlating Experiments With Field Observations.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Souza, N.; Weber, S.; Subramaniam, A.; Juhl, A. R.; Montoya, J. P.

    2016-02-01

    Natural hydrocarbon seeps account for around 47% of the oil released into the environment, with seeps in the Gulf of Mexico releasing up to 1.1×108 L oil year-1. Our previous work in the Gulf of Mexico has linked natural hydrocarbon seepage occurring at depths exceeding 1000 meters to elevations in surface and sub-surface chlorophyll concentrations in the upper water column via plume-driven upwelling of nutrient rich waters from depth. Subsequent experiments further revealed synergistic impacts of oil, nutrients, and microbial predation on surface microbial growth rates and metabolism - suggesting an additional top-down control on surface bacteria and microbes. While the magnitude of each contribution remains unclear, both, bottom-up and top-down mechanisms associated with natural oil seepage are evident. We build on our previous findings with results from microcosm experiments aimed at dissecting out the influence of nitrate, phosphate, silica, and crude oil on microbes in surface waters. Changes in phytoplankton populations, bacterial growth rates, and the subsequent drawdown of nutrients in these microcosms are presented here in context of field measurements made at natural seeps.

  6. Hydrocarbon-Based Communities in the Ultra-Deep Gulf of Mexico: Protecting the Asphalt Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacDonald, I. R.; Sahling, H.

    2016-02-01

    The term `asphalt volcanism' was coined to describe marine sites where extrusions of highly degraded oil form large expanses of hard substratum, which is then colonized by chemosynthetic fauna and sessile invertebrates. A site named `Chapopote', a knoll at 3200m in the southern Gulf of Mexico, was described as the type specimen of asphalt volcanism in 2003. A joint German-Mexican-U.S. expedition on the German ship F/S METEOR returned to the region in February and March, 2015 to quantify the extent and characteristics of Chapopote and other asphalt-hosting knolls using the SEAL AUV, QUEST ROV, shipborne acoustics, and autonomous instrument landers. Preliminary findings have greatly expanded the number of confirmed asphalt volcanoes, as well as sites where seepage was detected as gas flares in the water column. The morphology of asphalt flows, which was investigated using large-scale photo-mosaicking techniques, indicated that they form with a complex interplay of gravity flows, buoyant uplift, and chemical weathering. An unexpected finding was the occurrence of gas hydrate mounds, some exceeding 1000 m2 in area and 10 m in relief. Gas hydrate forms almost instantly at ambient depths and temperatures and there was evidence that large plugs of hydrate that can rapidly breach the seafloor. Older mounds are colonized by massive tubeworm aggregations that may serve to stabilize the hydrate. Mexico recently announced the first energy production lease sales in their `ultra-deep' offshore. In contrast to the U.S. Gulf, where extensive safeguards for chemosynthetic communities have been in place for over 25 years, few existing protocols protect the Mexican deep-sea asphalt ecosystem. The combination of extensive asphalt pavements and exposed gas hydrate also pose unusual hazards for exploration piston coring or drilling operations. The time is ripe to consider what conservation model would best serve the region.

  7. Seasonal Variability in Phytoplankton Responses to Water Accommodated Petroleum Hydrocarbons in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cole, L. K.; Krause, J. W.; Thamatrakoln, K.

    2016-02-01

    Seasonality in the relative abundance of phytoplankton groups is primarily due to environmental variables such as light availability, nutrient availability and flux as well as shifts in higher trophic level abundance. This variation is amplified in shallow coastal waters, where the biology and physical characteristics are influenced by dynamic temporal variation in freshwater plume influx. The flooding of the Gulf of Mexico with organic matter from the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill in April 2010 highlighted the lack of regional baseline knowledge regarding phytoplankton succession and the effect of petrocarbon loading on different phytoplankton groups. To understand the effect of perturbations on seasonal succession, we are conducting monthly multi-day grow out experiments using water from the Alabama Coast, in the northern Gulf of Mexico. These assessments are conducted using treatments of water accommodated fraction of crude oil (WAF, MC252 Surrogate Crude Oil) and chemically enhanced WAF (CEWAF, Crude + Dasic International Slickgone NS®) relative to controls. We are examining changes in photophysiology, productivity, biomass accumulation and community composition. Preliminary results show significant photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence after one day of exposure to 10% WAF. In addition, significant divergences in chlorophyll concentration were observed among oil exposure treatments. These results imply strong sublethal effects for the aggregate phytoplankton community. Ongoing time-series results will be presented to examine whether similar sublethal effects are observed throughout the year and whether the magnitude of this variation is affected by the encountered community composition and hydrographic conditions. Given that phytoplankton mediate the transfer of carbon to higher trophic levels, understanding the effect of perturbations on seasonal relative phytoplankton abundance has implications for ecosystem resilience as a whole.

  8. Significance of aragonite cements around Cretaceous marine methane seeps

    SciTech Connect

    Savard, M.M.; Beauchamp, B.; Veizer, J.

    1996-05-01

    Detailed petrography and geochemistry of carbonate precipitates in Cretaceous cold seep mounds from the Canadian Arctic show spectacular early diagenetic products: some still-preserved splays and isopachous layers of fine, acicular aragonite, and large botryoids and crusts of low-magnesium calcite showing unusual entanglement of former fibrous calcite and aragonite. The latter mineralogy is suggested by clear, flat-terminated cathodoluminescence patterns interpreted as ancient crystal growth steps, and the former by rhombohedral terminations. The early cement phases very likely precipitated in cold Arctic water dominated by bicarbonates derived from bacterially oxidized methane: these cements have {delta}{sup 13}C values around {minus}44.0% and {delta}{sup 18}O values of 1.8 to 0.1% PDB. Coexistence of calcite and aragonite early cements in the Cretaceous seep mounds is unusual, because precipitation occurred in high-latitude, cold-water settings, and during a so-called calcite sea mode. As in modern marine hydrocarbon seeps, the chemistry of the Cretaceous system was apparently controlled by chemosynthetic bacterial activity, resulting in high a{sub HCO{sub 3}{sup {minus}}} that promoted precipitation of carbonates. The authors suggest that, locally, fluctuations in a{sub HCO{sub 3}{sup {minus}}}/a{sub SO{sub 4}{sup 2{minus}}} resulted in oscillating aragonite or calcite supersaturation, and hence, controlled the mineralogy of the early precipitates.

  9. A microbiological and biogeochemical investigation of the cold seep tubeworm Escarpia southwardae (Annelida: Siboglinidae): Symbiosis and trace element composition of the tube

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Duperron, Sébastien; Gaudron, Sylvie M.; Lemaitre, Nolwenn; Bayon, Germain

    2014-08-01

    Tubeworms within the annelid family Siboglinidae rely on sulfur-oxidizing autotrophic bacterial symbionts for their nutrition, and are among the dominant metazoans occurring at deep-sea hydrocarbon seeps. Contrary to their relatives from hydrothermal vents, sulfide uptake for symbionts occurs within the anoxic subsurface sediment, in the posterior ‘root' region of the animal. This study reports on an integrated microbiological and geochemical investigation of the cold seep tubeworm Escarpia southwardae collected at the Regab pockmark (Gulf of Guinea). Our aim was to further constrain the links between the animal and its symbiotic bacteria, and their environment. We show that E. southwardae harbors abundant sulfur-oxidizing bacterial symbionts in its trophosome. Symbionts are able to fix inorganic carbon using the Calvin-Benson cycle, as reported in most other Siboglinidae, but can also use the reverse Tricarboxilic Acid Cycle. Surprisingly, the observed bacteria appear to be more closely related to symbionts of Escarpia and Lamellibrachia species from very distant sites located in the Gulf of Mexico and eastern Pacific, than to symbionts of a siboglinid occurring at a nearby methane seep site, only a few hundred km away from Regab. Then, by combining scanning electron microscopy and trace element (Mn, Fe, Sr, Zr) analyses of E. southwardae tube, we also show that two distinct oxidation fronts occur along the tube. The first one, near the posterior end of the tube, corresponds to the interface between oxic bottom waters and the underlying anoxic sediment. In contrast, the second redox front is located in the most anterior part of the tube, and could result from active oxygen uptake by the plume of the tubeworm. We speculate that intense oxygen consumption in this region could create favorable conditions for sulfate reduction by specialized bacteria associated with the plume, possibly leading to an additional source of dissolved sulfide that would further enhance

  10. Barite encrustation of benthic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria at a marine cold seep.

    PubMed

    Stevens, E W N; Bailey, J V; Flood, B E; Jones, D S; Gilhooly, W P; Joye, S B; Teske, A; Mason, O U

    2015-11-01

    Crusts and chimneys composed of authigenic barite are found at methane seeps and hydrothermal vents that expel fluids rich in barium. Microbial processes have not previously been associated with barite precipitation in marine cold seep settings. Here, we report on the precipitation of barite on filaments of sulfide-oxidizing bacteria at a brine seep in the Gulf of Mexico. Barite-mineralized bacterial filaments in the interiors of authigenic barite crusts resemble filamentous sulfide-oxidizing bacteria of the genus Beggiatoa. Clone library and iTag amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene show that the barite crusts that host these filaments also preserve DNA of Candidatus Maribeggiatoa, as well as sulfate-reducing bacteria. Isotopic analyses show that the sulfur and oxygen isotope compositions of barite have lower δ(34)S and δ(18)O values than many other marine barite crusts, which is consistent with barite precipitation in an environment in which sulfide oxidation was occurring. Laboratory experiments employing isolates of sulfide-oxidizing bacteria from Gulf of Mexico seep sediments showed that under low sulfate conditions, such as those encountered in brine fluids, sulfate generated by sulfide-oxidizing bacteria fosters rapid barite precipitation localized on cell biomass, leading to the encrustation of bacteria in a manner reminiscent of our observations of barite-mineralized Beggiatoa in the Gulf of Mexico. The precipitation of barite directly on filaments of sulfide-oxidizing bacteria, and not on other benthic substrates, suggests that sulfide oxidation plays a role in barite formation at certain marine brine seeps where sulfide is oxidized to sulfate in contact with barium-rich fluids, either prior to, or during, the mixing of those fluids with sulfate-containing seawater in the vicinity of the sediment/water interface. As with many other geochemical interfaces that foster mineral precipitation, both biological and abiological processes likely contribute

  11. Micritic Peloids: Fossil Record of Biofilms Associated With Methane Seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shapiro, R. S.

    2006-12-01

    Biofilms of archaea and bacteria are found where reduced hydrocarbons seep upward to the seafloor. The process of oxidizing the methane coupled with the reduction of seawater sulfate increases the alkalinity in the localized area and promotes the precipitation of carbonate minerals. The biofilms and carbonate deposits are ubiquitous in the modern oceans and the geologic record of hydrocarbon seeps goes back well into the Paleozoic. However, the paleontologic record of the microbes responsible for the production of the carbonates is poorly constrained. The few examples comprise casts and molds of filaments and cocci, framboidal pyrite of assumed biological affinity, organic biomarkers (lipids, hopanoids), and microbialite. Volumetrically, these fossils are insignificant compared with the total bulk of seep carbonate. Research into Mesozoic and Cenozoic seep carbonates from California, Oregon, Colorado, and South Dakota has yielded a new recognition for ancient biofilms. Micrite—the most common lithotype of seeps globally—exists as both peloids and groundmass. Common peloids of micrite average 0.5 mm in diameter (range from 0.1 to 0.7 mm), incorporate some siliciclastic material, and have distinct margins. Opaque minerals, likely sulfides, occur throughout the peloids. The matrix surrounding the peloids is a similar micrite, though in some samples, the peloids are surrounded by cement. Diagenesis leads to blurring of the peloid margins until a homogenous micrite groundmass with scattered sulfide and siliciclastic grains results. Use of a white card helps to outline original peloids. Increased levels of diagenesis can lead to crystal coarsening and obliterate original textures. These peloids are likely fecal pellets. A second population of peloids occur that are smaller (0.05 to 0.10 mm), darker in color, and with more diffuse boundaries. There are generally no siliciclastic grains intermixed with these peloids. These peloids occur in millimeter-scale clusters and

  12. Distributions and accumulation rates of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the northern Gulf of Mexico sediments.

    PubMed

    Adhikari, Puspa L; Maiti, Kanchan; Overton, Edward B; Rosenheim, Brad E; Marx, Brian D

    2016-05-01

    Sediment samples collected from shelf, slope and interior basin of the northern Gulf of Mexico during 2011-2013, 1-3 years after the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill, were utilized to characterize PAH pollution history, in this region. Results indicate that the concentrations of surface ΣPAH43 and their accumulation rates vary between 44 and 160 ng g(-1) and 6-55 ng cm(-2) y(-1), respectively. ΣPAH43 concentration profiles, accumulation rates and Δ(14)C values are significantly altered only for the sediments in the immediate vicinity of the DWH wellhead. This shows that the impact of DWH oil input on deep-sea sediments was generally limited to the area close to the spill site. Further, the PAHs source diagnostic analyses suggest a noticeable change in PAHs composition from higher to lower molecular weight dominance which reflects a change in source of PAHs in the past three years, back to the background composition. Results indicate low to moderate levels of PAH pollution in this region at present, which are unlikely to cause adverse effects on benthic communities.

  13. Comparison of two tunnel studies for non methane hydrocarbons in Mexico City

    SciTech Connect

    Mugica A, V.; Vega R, E.; Ruiz S, M.E.; Seila, R.

    1998-12-31

    Emissions from vehicles have long been considered a major source of pollutants involved in smog formation and ozone production. During the last few years, different control strategies have been taking place to reduce the high levels of ozone and some other atmospheric pollutants. Some of these strategies are: improvement of fuels, a program for compulsory vehicular emission test and the introduction of catalytic converters to be used in conjunction with unleaded gasoline since 1991. The comparison of the vehicular NMHC emission source profiles measured in a tunnel in Mexico City during March 1992 and May 1996 is presented. Samples were collected using stainless steel SUMMA{reg_sign} canisters and subsequent analyzed by gas chromatography with flame ionized detector. It was found that in general, the source profiles are similar, however, some differences were detected for some species. The sum of acetylene, ethylene and ethane contents, which are a typical combustion products, is lower for the 1996 source profile than for the 1992. In the same way, there is a small decrease of paraffin and olefin contents, except for hexane. Finally, significant differences were found for aromatic compounds, mainly toluene and xylenes which increased in 1996.

  14. Mexico

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    This true-color image of Mexico was acquired by the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), flying aboard NASA's Terra spacecraft. In areal extent, Mexico is the third largest country on the continent of North America (not counting Greenland, which is a province of Denmark), comprised of almost 2 million square kilometers (756,000 square miles) of land. Home to roughly 100 million people, Mexico is second only to the United States in population, making it the world's largest Spanish-speaking nation. To the north, Mexico shares its border with the United States-a line that runs some 3,100 kilometers (1,900 miles) east to west. About half of this border is defined by the Rio Grande River, which runs southeast to the Gulf of Mexico (partially obscured by clouds in this image) and marks the dividing line between Texas and Mexico. Toward the upper left (northwest) corner of this image is the Baja California peninsula, which provides the western land boundary for the Gulf of California. Toward the northwestern side of the Mexican mainland, you can see the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains (brownish pixels) running southeast toward Lake Chapala and the city of Guadalajara. About 400 km (250 miles) east and slightly south of Lake Chapala is the capital, Mexico City. Extending northward from Mexico City is the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains, the irregular line of brownish pixels that seem to frame the western edges of the bright white cumulus clouds in this image. Between these two large mountain ranges is a large, relatively dry highland region. To the south, Mexico shares borders with Guatemala and Belize, both of which are located south of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Image courtesy Reto Stockli, Brian Montgomery, and Robert Simmon, based on data from the MODIS Science Team

  15. Mexico

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    This true-color image of Mexico was acquired by the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), flying aboard NASA's Terra spacecraft. In areal extent, Mexico is the third largest country on the continent of North America (not counting Greenland, which is a province of Denmark), comprised of almost 2 million square kilometers (756,000 square miles) of land. Home to roughly 100 million people, Mexico is second only to the United States in population, making it the world's largest Spanish-speaking nation. To the north, Mexico shares its border with the United States-a line that runs some 3,100 kilometers (1,900 miles) east to west. About half of this border is defined by the Rio Grande River, which runs southeast to the Gulf of Mexico (partially obscured by clouds in this image) and marks the dividing line between Texas and Mexico. Toward the upper left (northwest) corner of this image is the Baja California peninsula, which provides the western land boundary for the Gulf of California. Toward the northwestern side of the Mexican mainland, you can see the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains (brownish pixels) running southeast toward Lake Chapala and the city of Guadalajara. About 400 km (250 miles) east and slightly south of Lake Chapala is the capital, Mexico City. Extending northward from Mexico City is the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains, the irregular line of brownish pixels that seem to frame the western edges of the bright white cumulus clouds in this image. Between these two large mountain ranges is a large, relatively dry highland region. To the south, Mexico shares borders with Guatemala and Belize, both of which are located south of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Image courtesy Reto Stockli, Brian Montgomery, and Robert Simmon, based on data from the MODIS Science Team

  16. Opposing seasonal trends for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and PM10: Health risk and sources in southwest Mexico City

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amador-Muñoz, Omar; Bazán-Torija, S.; Villa-Ferreira, S. A.; Villalobos-Pietrini, Rafael; Bravo-Cabrera, José Luis; Munive-Colín, Zenaida; Hernández-Mena, Leonel; Saldarriaga-Noreña, H.; Murillo-Tovar, M. A.

    2013-03-01

    This study reports the measurement of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in airborne particles ≤ 10 μm (PM10) during four years. Seasonal variation was observed for PM10 and PAH in southwest Mexico City, with major mass concentrations during the dry season (November-April). A non linear decreasing trend of PM10 was observed during this period, while a linear increase (in the four years) was obtained for benzo[a]pyrene (88 pg m- 3), phenanthrene (29 pg m- 3), fluoranthene (88 pg m- 3), and benzo[ghi]perylene (438 pg m- 3). Coronene also showed an increasing trend but it was nonlinear. This suggests that air control strategies implemented by the government contributed to maintaining PM10 under the 24 h maximum limit and resulted in a decreasing trend during this period. However, these strategies did not result in controlling some organic constituents with mutagenic and/or carcinogenic properties as it is the case of benzo[a]pyrene. The annual average of this PAH exceeded the UK recommendation. It was estimated a median (10th-90th) lifetime health risk of 7.6 (3.4-17.2) additional cases of cancer per 10 million people in this zone exists and the health risk of PAH is almost three times greater in dry seasons than it is in rainy seasons. Specific humidity, temperature and wind speed acted as cleaners for PM10 and PAH from the atmosphere. PAH diagnostic ratios and correlation and principal component analyses suggest incomplete combustion from gasoline and diesel engines as the main contributor to PAH found in southwest Mexico City, where factor 1 grouped all PAH emitted from gasoline engines during first three years. During last year, factor 1 only grouped PAH markers of diesel engines. This suggests a change of emission amounts between gasoline and diesel combustion sources or a contribution of other source(s) which changed the PAH profiles. During four years retene was always separated from factors which grouped the rest of PAH, due to its wood combustion

  17. Historical Distribution of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Shallow Sediments from Lake Chapala, Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zárate-Del Valle, P. F.; Macías-Pérez, M. P.; Barajas-Martínez, C. D.; Gómez-Hermosillo, C. M.

    2008-12-01

    The incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and burning of vegetation and other organic materials release into the environment pollutants like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are ubiquitous pollutants. The environmental behavior of PAHs is characterized by very low solubility, high hydrophobic sorptive capacity (kow), low volatility and general chemical stability. These characteristics mean, in practice, that PAHs are environmentally persistent compounds that in aquatic systems, are strongly held to solid surfaces present as both suspended particles and bottom sediment. Additionally, because of their high partition to organic carbon, PAHs show a high rate of bioconcentration and an easy way to enter the food chain. A benthos type sediment core was collected (CHA-C: N20° 15.105'; W103° 03.104') from the depocenter of lake Chapala. The first 40 cm of the sedimentary column representing an ecological history of ~ 150 years (210Pb dating) were cutted every 2 cm (n=20). For each core sectioned, the presence of PAHs was evaluated by GC-MS following methods from the USEPA (EPA 3540C, EPA 3620C, EPA 8270C). For the first 30 cm deep only products resulting of PAHs degradation were identified, namely: Butilisobutilphtalate, 1,2-benzenedicarboxaldehyde, phenol and, cinnamaldehyde; we attibute the presence of these products to a faster transformation of PAHs by photo and metabolic degradation as well as to chemical oxydation. For the 30-40 cm deep, the presence of the follwing PAHs was detected: 1H-indene, 1,2- difluor-3,4,5-trimetylbenzenethylnaphthalene, naphthalene, anthracene, and phenantren. A study is in progress to determine the presence of PAHs in other sites of the lake. We conclude that shallow sediment (40 cm deep) from Lake Chapala could constitute a potentially large pool of PAHs.

  18. Genotoxicity in child populations exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the air from Tabasco, Mexico.

    PubMed

    Gamboa, Rodríguez T; Gamboa, Aldeco R; Bravo, Alvarez H; Ostrosky, Wegman P

    2008-12-01

    The economy of the state of Tabasco is based on oil extraction. However, this imposes major effects to the environment and communities. Examples are the Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) that may be found in the soil, water and sediment of the region. Their volatility makes them available to living beings and results in genotoxic activity. The purpose of this study was to quantify the levels of PAHs in the air at several points in the state, and to analyze their relationship with possible damage to DNA on local inhabitants. Single Cell Gel Electrophoresis Assay (Comet Assay) was applied to peripheral blood lymphocytes of five groups of children between six and 15 years of age. PAH samples were analyzed following US/EPA TO-13-A method. Results indicated the presence in the air of most of the 16 PAHs considered as high priority by EPA, some of which have been reported with carcinogenic activity. Differences (p<0.05) were found between PAHs concentration in the gaseous component and in the particulate component of air samples, with the greatest values for the gaseous component. Greatest PAH concentrations were detected in areas with high oil extraction activities. Children groups from high oil activity areas presented genotoxic damage labeled from moderate to high according to DNA migration from nuclei (Tail Length: 14.2 - 42.14 microm and Tail/Head: 0.97 - 2.83 microm) compared with control group (12.25 and 0.63 microm, respectively). The group with greatest cell damage was located in the area with the greatest oil activity. We conclude that the presence of PAHs in the air may represent a health risk to populations that are chronically exposed to them at high oil activity regions.

  19. Genotoxicity in child populations exposed to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the air from Tabasco, Mexico

    PubMed Central

    Gamboa, Rodríguez T.; Gamboa, Aldeco R.; Bravo, Alvarez H.; Ostrosky, Wegman P.

    2008-01-01

    The economy of the state of Tabasco is based on oil extraction. However, this imposes major effects to the environment and communities. Examples are the Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) that may be found in the soil, water and sediment of the region. Their volatility makes them available to living beings and results in genotoxic activity. The purpose of this study was to quantify the levels of PAHs in the air at several points in the state, and to analyze their relationship with possible damage to DNA on local inhabitants. Single Cell Gel Electrophoresis Assay (Comet Assay) was applied to peripheral blood lymphocytes of five groups of children between six and 15 years of age. PAH samples were analyzed following US/EPA TO-13-A method. Results indicated the presence in the air of most of the 16 PAHs considered as high priority by EPA, some of which have been reported with carcinogenic activity. Differences (p<0.05) were found between PAHs concentration in the gaseous component and in the particulate component of air samples, with the greatest values for the gaseous component. Greatest PAH concentrations were detected in areas with high oil extraction activities. Children groups from high oil activity areas presented genotoxic damage labeled from moderate to high according to DNA migration from nuclei (Tail Length: 14.2 – 42.14 μm and Tail/Head: 0.97 – 2.83 μm) compared with control group (12.25 and 0.63 μm, respectively). The group with greatest cell damage was located in the area with the greatest oil activity. We conclude that the presence of PAHs in the air may represent a health risk to populations that are chronically exposed to them at high oil activity regions. PMID:19151429

  20. Geologic framework, regional aquifer properties (1940s-2009), and spring, creek, and seep properties (2009-10) of the upper San Mateo Creek Basin near Mount Taylor, New Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Langman, Jeff B.; Sprague, Jesse E.; Durall, Roger A.

    2012-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, examined the geologic framework, regional aquifer properties, and spring, creek, and seep properties of the upper San Mateo Creek Basin near Mount Taylor, which contains areas proposed for exploratory drilling and possible uranium mining on U.S. Forest Service land. The geologic structure of the region was formed from uplift of the Zuni Mountains during the Laramide Orogeny and the Neogene volcanism associated with the Mount Taylor Volcanic Field. Within this structural context, numerous aquifers are present in various Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary formations and the Quaternary alluvium. The distribution of the aquifers is spatially variable because of the dip of the formations and erosion that produced the current landscape configuration where older formations have been exhumed closer to the Zuni Mountains. Many of the alluvial deposits and formations that contain groundwater likely are hydraulically connected because of the solid-matrix properties, such as substantive porosity, but shale layers such as those found in the Mancos Formation and Chinle Group likely restrict vertical flow. Existing water-level data indicate topologically downgradient flow in the Quaternary alluvium and indiscernible general flow patterns in the lower aquifers. According to previously published material and the geologic structure of the aquifers, the flow direction in the lower aquifers likely is in the opposite direction compared to the alluvium aquifer. Groundwater within the Chinle Group is known to be confined, which may allow upward migration of water into the Morrison Formation; however, confining layers within the Chinle Group likely retard upward leakage. Groundwater was sodium-bicarbonate/sulfate dominant or mixed cation-mixed anion with some calcium/bicarbonate water in the study area. The presence of the reduction/oxidation-sensitive elements iron and manganese in groundwater indicates reducing

  1. Migrating Tundra Peregrine Falcons accumulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons along Gulf of Mexico following Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    PubMed

    Seegar, William S; Yates, Michael A; Doney, Gregg E; Jenny, J Peter; Seegar, Tom C M; Perkins, Christopher; Giovanni, Matthew

    2015-07-01

    Monitoring internal crude oil exposure can assist the understanding of associated risks and impacts, as well as the effectiveness of restoration efforts. Under the auspices of a long-term monitoring program of Tundra Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus tundrius) at Assateague (Maryland) and South Padre Islands (Texas), we measured the 16 parent (unsubstituted) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), priority pollutants identified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and components of crude oil, in peripheral blood cells of migrating Peregrine Falcons from 2009 to 2011. The study was designed to assess the spatial and temporal trends of crude oil exposure associated with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill which started 20 April 2010 and was capped on 15 July of that year. Basal PAH blood distributions were determined from pre-DWH oil spill (2009) and unaffected reference area sampling. This sentinel species, a predator of shorebirds and seabirds during migration, was potentially exposed to residual oil from the spill in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Results demonstrate an increased incidence (frequency of PAH detection and blood concentrations) of PAH contamination in 2010 fall migrants sampled along the Texas Gulf Coast, declining to near basal levels in 2011. Kaplan-Meier peak mean ∑PAH blood concentration estimates varied with age (Juveniles-16.28 ± 1.25, Adults-5.41 ± 1.10 ng/g, wet weight) and PAHs detected, likely attributed to the discussed Tundra Peregrine natural history traits. Increased incidence of fluorene, pyrene and anthracene, with the presence of alkylated PAHs in peregrine blood suggests an additional crude oil source after DWH oil spill. The analyses of PAHs in Peregrine Falcon blood provide a convenient repeatable method, in conjunction with ongoing banding efforts, to monitoring crude oil contamination in this avian predator.

  2. Mexico.

    PubMed

    1988-02-01

    Focus in this discussion of Mexico is on the following: geography; the people; history; political conditions; the economy; foreign relations; and relations between the US and Mexico. As of July 1987, the population of Mexico numbered 81.9 million with an estimated annual growth rate of 2.09%. 60% of the population is Indian-Spanish (mestizo), 30% American Indian, 9% white, and 1% other. Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and the 2nd most populous country in Latin America. Education is decentralized and expanded. Mexico's topography ranges from low desert plains and jungle-like coastal strips to high plateaus and rugged mountains. Hernan Cortes conquered Mexico in 1919-21 and founded a Spanish colony that lasted for almost 300 years. Independence from Spain was proclaimed by Father Miguel Hidalgo on September 16, 1810; the republic was established on December 6, 1822. Mexico's constitution of 1917 provides for a federal republic with a separation of powers into independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Significant political themes of the administration of President Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado, who began his 6-year term in 1982, have been restructuring the economy, liberalizing trade practices, decentralizing government services, and eliminating corruption among public servants. In 1987, estimates put the real growth of the Mexican economy at 1.5%; the gross domestic product (GDP) had shrunk by 3.5% in 1986. Yet, on the positive side, Mexico's international reserves increased to record levels in 1987 (to about $15 billion), and its current account surplus reached more than $3 billion. Mexico has made considerable progress in moving to restructure its economy. It has substantially reduced impediments to international trade and has moved to reduce the number of parastatal firms. 1987 was the 2nd consecutive year in which Mexico recorded triple-digit inflation; inflation reached 158.8%. Other problems include

  3. Gulf of Mexico continental slope study annual report, year 2. Volume 2. Primary volume. Interim report 1985-1986. [Sampling for hydrocarbons

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1986-09-01

    This report, which was prepared in three volumes (Executive Summary, Primary Volume, and Appendix), details the findings of two years of sampling on the continental slope of the northern Gulf of Mexico at depths of 300-3000 m. Preliminary results from a third year of sampling are also presented. Physical and chemical measurements included: CTD casts at 35 stations; sediment characteristics, including hydrocarbons and bulk sediment parameters from 60 stations; tissue hydrocarbon levels of representative benthic organisms; and delta carbon-13 values from sediments and organisms, including comparison of areas of natural petroleum seepage to prevailing slope conditions. The biological oceanography section provides detailed enumeration of megafaunal specimens collected by trawling and of macro- and meiofaunal specimens collected with a 600 sq cm box core. Major megafaunal groups treated are Arthropoda, Echinodermata, and demersal fishes.

  4. Infaunal and megafaunal benthic community structure associated with cold seeps at the Vestnesa Ridge (79 N°)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Åström, Emmelie K. L.; Carroll, Michael L.; Sen, Arunima; Ambrose, William G., Jr.; Silyakova, Anna; Carroll, JoLynn

    2016-04-01

    Cold seeps are locations where hydrocarbons, sulfide or reduced compounds emanate from the seafloor, which may fuel chemoautotrophic production and form additional hard bottom substrate through carbonate precipitation. Chemosynthetic symbiosis, trophic interactions, and additional bottom substrate types can provide a heterogeneous environment for deep-sea organisms supporting macrofaunal communities including increased biodiversity and biomass. We combined quantitative benthic faunal samples with sea floor photographs from an active, methane seeping pockmark at Vestnesa Ridge (1200 meters depth) to examine community structure and biodiversity in a high Arctic deep cold seep. Quantitative data were compared with samples from the nearby inactive Svyatogor Ridge (1577-1706 meters depth). We measured highly elevated methane concentrations (up to 100x background levels) in the sediment at Vestnesa Ridge. Faunal abundance, species richness and biomass were significantly higher at the Vestnesa pockmark compared to inactive Svyatogor Ridge. Seabed photos from Vestnesa Ridge reveal high megafaunal diversity and biomass and cold seep features including carbonate crust and microbial mats. Our observations indicate that chemoautotrophic production enhances deep-sea biomass and diversity at Vestnesa Ridge. The focused methane emissions create a heterogeneous deep-sea habitat for chemo-associated organisms coexisting with heterotrophic conventional fauna in a high Arctic seep. Keywords: Arctic, benthic ecology, biodiversity, chemosynthesis, methane

  5. Microbial Oxidation of Natural Gas in a Plume Emanating from the Coal Oil Point Seep Field

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mendes, S. D.; Valentine, D. L.; Perez, C.; Scarlett, R.

    2012-12-01

    The hydrocarbon seep field at Coal Oil Point, off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, releases > 1010 g of thermogenic natural gas each year. Gases emitted from Coal Oil Point include methane, ethane, propane, and butane, which are atmospheric pollutants and greenhouse gases. Even though the seeps are at water depths of only 5-80 m, much of the gas dissolves and contributes to a plume that is transported by ocean currents. While hydrocarbons can support bacterial respiration, resulting in the removal of hydrocarbon gas from the plume, the time-scale for the bacterial respiratory response is unconstrained. To track hydrocarbon respiration 3H-ethane, propane, and butane were synthesized using Grignard reagents and tritiated water with yields of >70% and applied as tracers to samples up- and down-current from the seeps at Coal Oil Point. Validation experiments conducted in September 2011 aboard the R/V Atlantis show that 3H-labeled tracers are an order of magnitude more sensitive than previous methods using stable carbon isotopes (Valentine et. al 2010), making this technique preferable in natural systems. Application of the tracers concurrent with plume tracking in July-August 2012 show ethane, propane, and butane consumption are readily inducible on a timescale of days.

  6. Detection of Natural Oil Seeps in the Atlantic Ocean Using MODIS

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reahard, Ross; Jones, Jason B.; Mitchell, Mark

    2010-01-01

    Natural oil seepage is the release of crude oil into the ocean from fissures in the seabed. Oil seepage is a major contributor to the total amount of oil entering the world s oceans. According to a 2003 study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), 47 percent of oil entering the world s oceans is from natural seeps, and 53 percent is from human sources (extraction, transportation, and consumption). Oil seeps cause smooth oil slicks to form on the water s surface. Oil seeps can indicate the location of stores of fossil fuel beneath the ocean floor. Knowledge of the effect of oil seepage on marine life and marine ecosystems remains limited. In the past, remote sensing has been used to detect oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico and off of the coast of southern California. This project utilized sun glint MODIS imagery to locate oil slicks off of the Atlantic coast, an area that had not previously been surveyed for natural oil seeps using remote sensing. Since 1982, the Atlantic Ocean has been closed to any oil and gas drilling. Recently, however, the U.S. Minerals Management Services (MMS) has proposed a lease for oil and gas drilling off the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina. Determining the location of seepage sites in the Atlantic Ocean will help MMS locate potential deposits of oil and natural gas, thereby reducing the risk of leasing areas for petroleum extraction that do not contain these natural resources.

  7. Larvae from deep-sea methane seeps disperse in surface waters.

    PubMed

    Arellano, Shawn M; Van Gaest, Ahna L; Johnson, Shannon B; Vrijenhoek, Robert C; Young, Craig M

    2014-07-07

    Many species endemic to deep-sea methane seeps have broad geographical distributions, suggesting that they produce larvae with at least episodic long-distance dispersal. Cold-seep communities on both sides of the Atlantic share species or species complexes, yet larval dispersal across the Atlantic is expected to take prohibitively long at adult depths. Here, we provide direct evidence that the long-lived larvae of two cold-seep molluscs migrate hundreds of metres above the ocean floor, allowing them to take advantage of faster surface currents that may facilitate long-distance dispersal. We collected larvae of the ubiquitous seep mussel "Bathymodiolus" childressi and an associated gastropod, Bathynerita naticoidea, using remote-control plankton nets towed in the euphotic zone of the Gulf of Mexico. The timing of collections suggested that the larvae might disperse in the water column for more than a year, where they feed and grow to more than triple their original sizes. Ontogenetic vertical migration during a long larval life suggests teleplanic dispersal, a plausible explanation for the amphi-Atlantic distribution of "B." mauritanicus and the broad western Atlantic distribution of B. naticoidea. These are the first empirical data to demonstrate a biological mechanism that might explain the genetic similarities between eastern and western Atlantic seep fauna.

  8. Comparative study of vent and seep macrofaunal communities in the Guaymas Basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Portail, M.; Olu, K.; Escobar-Briones, E.; Caprais, J. C.; Menot, L.; Waeles, M.; Cruaud, P.; Sarradin, P. M.; Godfroy, A.; Sarrazin, J.

    2015-06-01

    Understanding the ecological processes and connectivity of chemosynthetic deep-sea ecosystems requires comparative studies. In the Guaymas Basin (Gulf of California, Mexico), the presence of seeps and vents in the absence of biogeographic barrier, comparable sedimentary settings and depths offers a unique opportunity to assess the role of ecosystem specific environmental conditions on macrofaunal communities. Six seep and four vent assemblages were studied, three of which were characterised by common major foundation taxa: vesicomyid bivalves, siboglinid tubeworms and microbial mats. Macrofaunal community structure at the family level showed that density, diversity and composition patterns were primarily shaped by seep and vent common abiotic factors including methane and hydrogen sulphide concentrations. The type of substratum and the heterogeneity provided by foundation species were identified as additional structuring factors and their roles were found to vary according to fluid regimes. Surprisingly, the presence of vent environmental specificities, with higher temperature, higher metal concentrations and lower pH was not significant in explaining community patterns. Moreover, Guaymas seep and vent shared an important number of common species suggesting frequent connections between the two ecosystems. Finally, this study provides further support for the hypothesis of continuity among deep-sea seep and vent ecosystems.

  9. Larvae from deep-sea methane seeps disperse in surface waters

    PubMed Central

    Arellano, Shawn M.; Van Gaest, Ahna L.; Johnson, Shannon B.; Vrijenhoek, Robert C.; Young, Craig M.

    2014-01-01

    Many species endemic to deep-sea methane seeps have broad geographical distributions, suggesting that they produce larvae with at least episodic long-distance dispersal. Cold-seep communities on both sides of the Atlantic share species or species complexes, yet larval dispersal across the Atlantic is expected to take prohibitively long at adult depths. Here, we provide direct evidence that the long-lived larvae of two cold-seep molluscs migrate hundreds of metres above the ocean floor, allowing them to take advantage of faster surface currents that may facilitate long-distance dispersal. We collected larvae of the ubiquitous seep mussel “Bathymodiolus” childressi and an associated gastropod, Bathynerita naticoidea, using remote-control plankton nets towed in the euphotic zone of the Gulf of Mexico. The timing of collections suggested that the larvae might disperse in the water column for more than a year, where they feed and grow to more than triple their original sizes. Ontogenetic vertical migration during a long larval life suggests teleplanic dispersal, a plausible explanation for the amphi-Atlantic distribution of “B.” mauritanicus and the broad western Atlantic distribution of B. naticoidea. These are the first empirical data to demonstrate a biological mechanism that might explain the genetic similarities between eastern and western Atlantic seep fauna. PMID:24827437

  10. Using a video-corer to evaluate hydrocarbon fluxes in the northern South China Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hung, C. C.; Wang, C. C.; Chen, H. H.; Lin, Y. S.; Huang, K. H.

    2015-12-01

    Many natural methane seeps exist in the northern South China Sea. Researchers have often used gravity corers or piston corers to collect sediments and bottom seawater for estimating methane fluxes of these seeps. The actual sampling locations of these corers are difficult to match seeping vents detected by scientific echo sounder because of the difficulty in positioning of these corers when sampling at sea,. Thus, the hydrocarbon fluxes of the seeping vents estimated using these corers might not be representative hydrocarbon fluxes of seeping vents in the northern South China Sea. In this study, we used a real-time video multicorer to collect surface sediments and bottom seawater samples. This real-time multicorer can accurately obtain surface sediments and bottom seawater samples on hydrocarbon seeping vents. To estimate hydrocarbon diffusion fluxes of seeps in the northern South China Sea, we analyzed methane concentrations and carbon isotopes of methane in both porewater and bottom seawater. During the cruises conducted from August to December, 2014, methane fluxes in the study area ranged from 3 to 57000 μmol m-2 d-1 which are significantly higher than previously reported values (~160 μmol m-2 d-1). Besides, we have obtained some samples in the study area using real-time multicorer in 2015. These new results will be presented in the meeting. Overall, the observed result in this study suggests that the in-situ multicorer can be a suitable instrument sampling surface sediments and bottom seawater samples on hydrocarbon seeping vents.

  11. Mollusks from late Mesozoic seep deposits, chiefly in California.

    PubMed

    Kaim, Andrzej; Jenkins, Robert G; Tanabe, Kazushige; Kiel, Steffen

    2014-09-17

    Twenty-nine mollusk species from Late Jurassic to Eocene hydrocarbon seep deposits from California (USA), Japan, New Zealand, and Barbados are described and illustrated. Twenty species belong to Gastropoda and nine to Bivalvia. Seven new species, three new genera, and one new family are introduced. The gastropod Hikidea gen. nov. includes smooth-shelled Cantrainea-like colloniins from Cretaceous hydrocarbon seeps and plesiosaur falls. Hikidea osoensis sp. nov. is the oldest species of this genus. Chilodonta? reticulata sp. nov. is a distinctive vetigastropod though its supraspecific position is unclear. Phanerolepida onoensis sp. nov. is the first species of this colloniin genus from a seep deposit. We describe two new genera of Hokkaidoconchidae: Abyssomelania gen. nov. and Ascheria gen. nov.; this family includes now four genera (including Hokkaidoconcha and Humptulipsia) and ranges from the Late Jurassic to the Eocene. Abyssomelania is characterized by a large, high-spired shell and unusual widely-spaced prosocline riblets (here called abyssomelaniid riblets). Abyssomelania is represented by two new species: A. cramptoni sp. nov. from the Late Cretaceous of New Zealand and A. campbellae sp. nov. from the Early Cretaceous of California. Ascheria gen. nov. is characterized by a large high-spired cerithiform shell, a subsutural constriction, and mostly reticulate ornament. Two nominate species are included: Ascheria gigantea (Kiel et al., 2008) and A. eucosmeta (Ascher, 1906), both of Early Cretaceous age. Two further species potentially belonging to Ascheria from the Eocene of Barbados are reported in open nomenclature and are re-illustrated and re-described for comparison. Humtulipsia nobuharai sp. nov. is described based on specimens from the Campanian-Maastrichtian Sada Limestone seep deposit in Japan. The new family Paskentanidae fam. nov. is introduced for the genera Paskentana and Atresius. The species of this family are characterized by thin-shelled, broad

  12. The Anthropogenic Effects of Hydrocarbon Inputs to Coastal Seas: Are There Potential Biogeochemical Impacts?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, M. R.; Rivkin, R. B.

    2016-02-01

    Petroleum hydrocarbon discharges related to fossil fuel exploitation have the potential to alter microbial processes in the upper ocean. While the ecotoxicological effects of such inputs are commonly evaluated, the potential for eutrophication from the constituent organic and inorganic nutrients has been largely ignored. Hydrocarbons from natural seeps and anthropogenic sources represent a measurable source of organic carbon for surface waters. The most recent (1989-1997) estimate of average world-wide input of hydrocarbons to the sea is 1.250 x 1012 g/yr ≈ 1.0 x 1012g C/year. Produced water from offshore platforms is the largest waste stream from oil and gas exploitation and contributes significant quantities of inorganic nutrients such as N, P and Fe. In coastal areas where such inputs are a significant source of these nutrients, model studies show the potential to shift production toward smaller cells and net heterotrophy. The consequences of these nutrient sources for coastal systems and semi enclosed seas are complex and difficult to predict, because (1) there is a lack of comprehensive data on inputs and in situ concentrations and (2) the is no conceptual or quantitative framework to consider their effects on ocean biogeochemical processes. Here we use examples from the North Sea (produced water discharges 1% total riverine input and NH4 3% of the annual riverine nitrogen load), the South China Sea (total petroleum hydrocarbons = 10-1750 μg/l in offshore waters), and the Gulf of Mexico (seeps = 76-106 x 109 gC/yr, Macondo blowout 545 x 109 gC) to demonstrate how hydrocarbon and produced water inputs can influence basin scale biogeochemical and ecosystem processes and to propose a framework to consider these effects on larger scales.

  13. Stimulated Emission of Energetic Particles (SEEP).

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1987-11-30

    a.... W W w w w w w I I li IJr Ir % i "f J2 I l AD-A 188 724 MLMSCD068456 For Period Ending 30 September 1987 CD Contract N00014-79-C4824 0 IC FILE...CLASSIFICATION 0 -UNCLASSIFIED/UNLIMITED [ SAME AS RPT C:" DTIC USERS UNCLASSIFIED 22a NAME OF RESPONSIBLE INDIVIDUAL 22b TELEPHONE (Include Area Code) 22c O...34---" ,. LMSC/D068456 . 0 SEEP FINAL REPORT I. OBJECTIVES OF THE SEEP PROGRAM The SEEP (Stimulated Emission of Energetic Particles) program had important

  14. Biogeography and potential exchanges among the atlantic Equatorial belt cold-seep faunas.

    PubMed

    Olu, Karine; Cordes, Erik E; Fisher, Charles R; Brooks, James M; Sibuet, Myriam; Desbruyères, Daniel

    2010-08-05

    Like hydrothermal vents along oceanic ridges, cold seeps are patchy and isolated ecosystems along continental margins, extending from bathyal to abyssal depths. The Atlantic Equatorial Belt (AEB), from the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of Guinea, was one focus of the Census of Marine Life ChEss (Chemosynthetic Ecosystems) program to study biogeography of seep and vent fauna. We present a review and analysis of collections from five seep regions along the AEB: the Gulf of Mexico where extensive faunal sampling has been conducted from 400 to 3300 m, the Barbados accretionary prism, the Blake ridge diapir, and in the Eastern Atlantic from the Congo and Gabon margins and the recently explored Nigeria margin. Of the 72 taxa identified at the species level, a total of 9 species or species complexes are identified as amphi-Atlantic. Similarity analyses based on both Bray Curtis and Hellinger distances among 9 faunal collections, and principal component analysis based on presence/absence of megafauna species at these sites, suggest that within the AEB seep megafauna community structure is influenced primarily by depth rather than by geographic distance. Depth segregation is observed between 1000 and 2000 m, with the middle slope sites either grouped with those deeper than 2000 m or with the shallower sites. The highest level of community similarity was found between the seeps of the Florida escarpment and Congo margin. In the western Atlantic, the highest degree of similarity is observed between the shallowest sites of the Barbados prism and of the Louisiana slope. The high number of amphi-atlantic cold-seep species that do not cluster according to biogeographic regions, and the importance of depth in structuring AEB cold-seep communities are the major conclusions of this study. The hydrothermal vent sites along the Mid Atlantic Ridge (MAR) did not appear as "stepping stones" for dispersal of the AEB seep fauna, however, the south MAR and off axis regions should be further

  15. Biogeography and Potential Exchanges Among the Atlantic Equatorial Belt Cold-Seep Faunas

    PubMed Central

    Olu, Karine; Cordes, Erik E.; Fisher, Charles R.; Brooks, James M.; Sibuet, Myriam; Desbruyères, Daniel

    2010-01-01

    Like hydrothermal vents along oceanic ridges, cold seeps are patchy and isolated ecosystems along continental margins, extending from bathyal to abyssal depths. The Atlantic Equatorial Belt (AEB), from the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of Guinea, was one focus of the Census of Marine Life ChEss (Chemosynthetic Ecosystems) program to study biogeography of seep and vent fauna. We present a review and analysis of collections from five seep regions along the AEB: the Gulf of Mexico where extensive faunal sampling has been conducted from 400 to 3300m, the Barbados accretionary prism, the Blake ridge diapir, and in the Eastern Atlantic from the Congo and Gabon margins and the recently explored Nigeria margin. Of the 72 taxa identified at the species level, a total of 9 species or species complexes are identified as amphi-Atlantic. Similarity analyses based on both Bray Curtis and Hellinger distances among 9 faunal collections, and principal component analysis based on presence/absence of megafauna species at these sites, suggest that within the AEB seep megafauna community structure is influenced primarily by depth rather than by geographic distance. Depth segregation is observed between 1000 and 2000m, with the middle slope sites either grouped with those deeper than 2000m or with the shallower sites. The highest level of community similarity was found between the seeps of the Florida escarpment and Congo margin. In the western Atlantic, the highest degree of similarity is observed between the shallowest sites of the Barbados prism and of the Louisiana slope. The high number of amphi-atlantic cold-seep species that do not cluster according to biogeographic regions, and the importance of depth in structuring AEB cold-seep communities are the major conclusions of this study. The hydrothermal vent sites along the Mid Atlantic Ridge (MAR) did not appear as “stepping stones” for dispersal of the AEB seep fauna, however, the south MAR and off axis regions should be further

  16. Cultivation and Characterization of Oil-Degrading Microbes and the Environmental Controls on Hydrocarbon Biodegradation Patterns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Redmond, M. C.

    2016-02-01

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill highlighted the ability of microbes to degrade hydrocarbons in both cold, deep water and at the warm sea surface. However, the temperature and differing hydrocarbons in the deep ocean and sea surface led to different microbial communities and biodegradation patterns. In order to develop a better understanding of the factors that control microbial community composition and biodegradation patterns, we conducted laboratory microcosm studies with seawater samples from coastal South Carolina and hydrocarbon seeps in the Gulf of Mexico, incubated with different hydrocarbons, at different temperatures, and in static or shaking incubation conditions. We analyzed microbial community composition after three weeks and used successive transfers on liquid and then solid media to isolate cultures. More rapid growth was observed at 28 degrees than 4 degrees, with hexadecane compared to benzene, cyclohexane, or crude oil, and in shaking incubations compared to static. However, we were able to successfully culture microbes under all conditions. Physiological and genetic characterization of isolated strains is ongoing, and will be combined with assessment of hydrocarbon substrate preferences and kinetics under different environmental conditions.

  17. Mexico.

    PubMed

    1993-01-01

    The background notes on Mexico provide text and recent statistical information on the geography, population, government, economy, and foreign relations, specifically the North American Free Trade Agreement with US. The 1992 population is estimated at 89 million of which 60% are mestizo (Indian-Spanish), 30% are American Indian, 9% are Caucasian, and 1% are other. 90% are Roman Catholic. There are 8 years of compulsory education. Infant mortality is 30/1000 live births. Life expectancy for males is 68 years and 76 years for females. The labor force is comprised of 30% in services, 24% in agriculture and fishing, 19% in manufacturing, 13% in commerce, 7% in construction, 4% in transportation and communication, and .4% in mining. There are 31 states and a federal district. Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was $3200 in 1991. Military expenditures were .5% of GDP in 1991. The average inflation rate is 19%. Mexico City with 20 million is the largest urban center in the world. In recent years, the economy has been restructured with market oriented reforms; the result has been a growth of GDP of 3.6% in 1991 from 2% in 1987. Dependence on oil exports has decreased. There has been privatization and deregulation of state-owned companies. Subsidies to inefficient companies have been stopped. Tariff rates were reduced. The financial debt has been reduced and turned into a surplus of .8% in 1992. Mexico's foreign debt has been reduced from its high in 1987 of $107 billion. Agricultural reforms have been ongoing for 50 years. Land was redistributed, but standards of living and productivity have improved only slightly. Rural land tenure regulations have been changed, and other economic reforms are expected. Mexico engages in ad hoc international groups and is selective about membership in international organizations.

  18. [Seeping irrigation effect in sunlight greenhouse].

    PubMed

    Liu, Zuoxin; Du, Yaodong; Cai, Chongguang; Wang, Jian

    2002-04-01

    The differences of soil and air environments, crop growth, development and diseases, and water use efficiency of seeping irrigation from furrow irrigation were studied. Results indicated that compared with furrow irrigation, seeping irrigation could increase soil waterstable granular by 81.4%, soil porosity by 29.0% and soil temperature by 1.1-1.7 degrees C respectively, decrease bulk density by 21.2% and relative air humidity by 13.4% respectively, and save irrigation water by 36.7%. In addition, seeping irrigation could also accelerate crop maturity and increase yield, reduce crop diseases and production cost. Therefore, seeping irrigation was an ideal irrigation technique in sunlight greenhouse at present.

  19. Offshore springs and seeps are focus of working group

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burnett, Bill

    People have been curious about offshore springs and seeps since at least the days of the Romans. In spite of many centuries of both casual and serious observations, there has been relatively little scientific study concerning the magnitude and effects of groundwater flow into the sea. Rather, studies were performed mostly to address water resource issues. Investigations over the past decade or so have now shown that groundwater discharge, at least in some cases, may be important for geochemical budgets and ecological effects.The Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ) Project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program have recently established a working group of experts to examine questions relating specifically to groundwater discharge in the coastal zone. Direct groundwater flow into the ocean is known to occur as springs and seeps in near-shore areas in many parts of the world. Submarine springs, for example, are well known off both coasts of Florida; Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula; in several areas around the Pacific rim including Chile, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, and Australia; in the Persian Gulf near Bahrain; in the Mediterranean Sea off Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Libya; and in many other locations.

  20. Morphology of Florida Escarpment chemosynthetic brine seep community sites

    SciTech Connect

    Paull, C.K.; Spiess, F.N.; Curray, J.R.; Twitchell, D.

    1988-01-01

    The Florida Escarpment near 26/sup 0/N was surveyed with Deep-Two, Seabeam, and GLORIA in the area where chemosynthetic communities were discovered via ALVIN in the abyssal Gulf of Mexico. Seabeam bathymetry and GLORIA images indicate that the escarpment is a generally straight cliff with average slopes of about 45/sup 0/ from 2,200 to more than 3,250 m. The escarpment's face is cut by 2-km wide box canyons whose head walls are as steep as the intervening escarpment's face. The shapes of these canyons are difficult to explain with the traditional models of canyon formation. Sidescan sonar images and bottom photographs reveal that the escarpment's face is composed of a series of long, straight bedding-plane terraces which are truncated along nearly vertical orthogonal joints. Exposure of these truncated strata indicate the face of the escarpment is eroded. The contact between the basal escarpment and the flat-lying abyssal hemipelagic sediments is abrupt. Apparently, chemosynthetic communities line extensive sections of the escarpment base where reduced brines seep out into the sea floor. The morphology suggests joints and deep seeps are controlling factors in scarp retreat.

  1. The distribution of hydrocarbons in surface and deepwater plumes during the MC252 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spier, C. L.; Stringfellow, W. T.; Sonnenthal, E. L.; Conrad, M. E.; Hazen, T. C.

    2011-12-01

    The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform on April 20, 2010 resulted in the 3rd largest global oil spill in history. Oil discharged from the Macondo 252 well (MC252) almost continuously for over 83 days, releasing an estimated 172 to 200 million gallons of oil. We investigated the chemical composition of the surface plume extending as far as 200m below the surface oil slick for comparison to a defined deep-ocean plume and tested the hypothesis that the formation of the deepwater plume could be explained, at least in part, as a function of hydrocarbon physical properties. Hydrocarbon data were acquired from the NOAA website. Results of one and two ring aromatic hydrocarbons collected in water samples between 0.3 and 1750m below surface between 5/8/2010 and 6/28/2010 were included in this analysis. Two major plumes were identified including a near-surface plume (0.3 to 200m) and a deepwater plume between approximately 1000 and 1400m below surface. In the deepwater plume, hydrocarbons were measured most frequently in a southwest direction from the MC252 well, but high levels of hydrocarbons were also occasionally observed to the north and west. Sampling bias toward the southwest, where 38% of the total samples were taken, may underestimate the distribution of hydrocarbons in deepwater to the north, northwest, and west, where 8%, 12% and 18% of the samples were taken, respectively. Different hydrocarbons were found in the deepwater plume and in the surface plume. The deepwater plume was enriched in monoaromatic hydrocarbons, including BTEX compounds. High concentrations of monoaromatic compounds were not detected in the near-surface plume. The near-surface plume was enriched in diaromatic hydrocarbons, but diaromatic compounds were also found in the deep-water plume. The vertical distribution of aromatic hydrocarbons appears to be related to their log octanol-water partition coefficient (log Kow) values. These results suggest that the distribution of

  2. The carbon isotope biogeochemistry of the individual hydrocarbons in bat guano and the ecology of the insectivorous bats in the region of Carlsbad, New Mexico

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Des Marais, D. J.; Mitchell, J. M.; Meinschein, W. G.; Hayes, J. M.

    1980-01-01

    The structures and C-13 contents of individual hydrocarbons extracted from bat guano found in the Carlsbad region of New Mexico are analyzed in order to elucidate details of the carbon flow in the plant-insect-bat ecosystem. Carbon isotopic analyses indicate that equivalent numbers of plants with C3 and C4 photosynthetic pathways occupy the feeding area of the bats, which supports alfalfa and cotton as well as native plants. The molecular composition of the guano is consistent with an origin in two distinct populations of insects with different feeding habits, one of which may graze predominantly on crops. It is also pointed out that isotopic analyses of more ancient guano deposits may be useful in characterizing prevalent vegetation and climate of earlier periods.

  3. Microbial Oxidation of Ethane within Seep Sediment at Coal Oil Point, Santa Barbara, CA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mendes, S. D.; Duncombe, R.; Scarlett, R. D.; Shaffer, J.; Lensch, S.; Valentine, D. L.

    2013-12-01

    The hydrocarbon seep field at Coal Oil Point (COP), off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, releases more than 10^10 g of thermogenic natural gas each year. Only a fraction of this methane, ethane, propane, and butane reaches the atmosphere, and is instead consumed by marine microbes in both the sediment and water column. Bacterial respiration of these gases has been observed in aerobic and anaerobic conditions, with the exception of ethane (aerobic only) (Kniemeyer et. al 2007). This work seeks to quantify the rate of ethane oxidation (both aerobic and anaerobic) in marine sediment. A series of experiments, to be conducted using COP seep sediment aboard the R/V Atlantis in October 2013, will test how varying oxygen conditions impact ethane oxidation rate. Oxidation rates will be quantified using sensitive 3H-ethane tracers. Preliminary data from Shane's Seep, located within the COP seep field, indicates that ethane oxidation is restricted to the top 6 cm of sediment. This suggests that oxygen is a limiting factor, but further work is needed to establish if ethane oxidation is restricted to exclusively aerobic environments.

  4. Methane seeps along boundaries of arctic permafrost thaw and melting glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anthony, P.; Walter Anthony, K. M.; Grosse, G.; Chanton, J.

    2014-12-01

    Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, accumulates in subsurface hydrocarbon reservoirs. In the Arctic, impermeable icy permafrost and glacial overburden form a 'cryosphere cap' that traps gas leaking from these reservoirs, restricting flow to the atmosphere. We document the release of geologic methane to the atmosphere from abundant gas seeps concentrated along boundaries of permafrost thaw and receding glaciers in Alaska. Through aerial and ground surveys we mapped >150,000 seeps identified as bubbling-induced open holes in lake ice. Subcap methane seeps had anomalously high fluxes, 14C-depletion, and stable isotope values matching known coalbed and thermogenic methane accumulations in Alaska. Additionally, we observed younger subcap methane seeps in Greenland that were associated with ice-sheet retreat since the Little Ice Age. These correlations suggest that in a warming climate, continued disintegration of permafrost, glaciers, and parts of the polar ice sheets will relax pressure on subsurface seals and further open conduits, allowing a transient expulsion of geologic methane currently trapped by the cryosphere cap.

  5. Geologic methane seeps along boundaries of Arctic permafrost thaw and melting glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walter Anthony, Katey M.; Anthony, Peter; Grosse, Guido; Chanton, Jeffrey

    2012-06-01

    Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, accumulates in subsurface hydrocarbon reservoirs, such as coal beds and natural gas deposits. In the Arctic, permafrost and glaciers form a `cryosphere cap' that traps gas leaking from these reservoirs, restricting flow to the atmosphere. With a carbon store of over 1,200Pg, the Arctic geologic methane reservoir is large when compared with the global atmospheric methane pool of around 5Pg. As such, the Earth's climate is sensitive to the escape of even a small fraction of this methane. Here, we document the release of 14C-depleted methane to the atmosphere from abundant gas seeps concentrated along boundaries of permafrost thaw and receding glaciers in Alaska and Greenland, using aerial and ground surface survey data and in situ measurements of methane isotopes and flux. We mapped over 150,000 seeps, which we identified as bubble-induced open holes in lake ice. These seeps were characterized by anomalously high methane fluxes, and in Alaska by ancient radiocarbon ages and stable isotope values that matched those of coal bed and thermogenic methane accumulations. Younger seeps in Greenland were associated with zones of ice-sheet retreat since the Little Ice Age. Our findings imply that in a warming climate, disintegration of permafrost, glaciers and parts of the polar ice sheets could facilitate the transient expulsion of 14C-depleted methane trapped by the cryosphere cap.

  6. Questa baseline and pre-mining ground-water quality investigation. 20. Water chemistry of the Red River and selected seeps, tributaries, and precipitation, Taos County, New Mexico, 2000-2004

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Verplanck, P.L.; McCleskey, R.B.; Nordstrom, D.K.

    2006-01-01

    As part of a multi-year project to infer the pre-mining ground-water quality at Molycorp's Questa mine site, surface-water samples of the Red River, some of its tributaries, seeps, and snow samples were collected for analysis of inorganic solutes and of water and sulfate stable isotopes in selected samples. The primary aim of this study was to document diel, storm event, and seasonal variations in water chemistry for the Red River and similar variations in water chemistry for Straight Creek, a natural analog site similar in topography, hydrology, and geology to the mine site for inferring pre-mining water-quality conditions. Red River water samples collected between 2000 and 2004 show that the largest variations in water chemistry occur during late summer rainstorms, often monsoonal in nature. Within hours, discharge of the Red River increased from 8 to 102 cubic feet per second and pH decreased from 7.80 to 4.83. The highest concentrations of metals (iron, aluminum, zinc, manganese) and sulfate also occur during such events. Low-pH and high-solute concentrations during rainstorm runoff are derived primarily from alteration 'scar' areas of naturally high mineralization combined with steep topography that exposes continually altered rock because erosion is too rapid for vegetative growth. The year 2002 was one of the driest on record, and Red River discharge reflected the low seasonal snow pack. No snowmelt peak appeared in the hydrograph record, and a late summer storm produced the highest flow for the year. Snowmelt was closer to normal during 2003 and demonstrated the dilution effect of snowmelt on water chemistry. Two diel sampling events were conducted for the Red River, one during low flow and the other during high flow, at two locations, at the Red River gaging station and just upstream from Molycorp's mill site. No discernible diel trends were observed except for dissolved zinc and manganese at the upstream site during low flow. Straight Creek drainage water

  7. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated activity of particulate organic matter from the Paso del Norte airshed along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    PubMed Central

    Arrieta, Daniel E; Ontiveros, Cynthia C; Li, Wen-Whai; Garcia, Jose H; Denison, Michael S; McDonald, Jacob D; Burchiel, Scott W; Washburn, Barbara Shayne

    2003-01-01

    In this study, we determined the biologic activity of dichloromethane-extracted particulate matter < 10 micro m in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) obtained from filters at three sites in the Paso del Norte airshed, which includes El Paso, Texas, USA; Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and Sunland Park, New Mexico, USA. The extracts were rich in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and had significant biologic activity, measured using two in vitro assay systems: ethoxyresorufin-(O-deethylase (EROD) induction and the aryl hydrocarbon-receptor luciferase reporter system. In most cases, both EROD (5.25 pmol/min/mg protein) and luciferase activities (994 relative light units/mg) were highest in extracts from the Advance site located in an industrial neighborhood in Juarez. These values represented 58% and 55%, respectively, of induction associated with 1 micro M ss-naphthoflavone exposures. In contrast, little activity was observed at the Northeast Clinic site in El Paso, the reference site. In most cases, luciferase and EROD activity from extracts collected from the Tillman Health Center site, situated in downtown El Paso, fell between those observed at the other two sites. Overall, a statistically significant correlation existed between PM10 and EROD and luciferase activities. Chemical analysis of extracts collected from the Advance site demonstrated that concentrations of most PAHs were higher than those reported in most other metropolitan areas in the United States. Calculations made with these data suggest a cancer risk of 5-12 cases per 100,000 people. This risk estimate, as well as comparisons with the work of other investigators, raises concern regarding the potential for adverse health effects to the residents of this airshed. Further work is needed to understand the sources, exposure, and effects of PM10 and particulate organic material in the Paso del Norte airshed. PMID:12896850

  8. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated activity of particulate organic matter from the Paso del Norte airshed along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    PubMed

    Arrieta, Daniel E; Ontiveros, Cynthia C; Li, Wen-Whai; Garcia, Jose H; Denison, Michael S; McDonald, Jacob D; Burchiel, Scott W; Washburn, Barbara Shayne

    2003-08-01

    In this study, we determined the biologic activity of dichloromethane-extracted particulate matter < 10 micro m in aerodynamic diameter (PM10) obtained from filters at three sites in the Paso del Norte airshed, which includes El Paso, Texas, USA; Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and Sunland Park, New Mexico, USA. The extracts were rich in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and had significant biologic activity, measured using two in vitro assay systems: ethoxyresorufin-(O-deethylase (EROD) induction and the aryl hydrocarbon-receptor luciferase reporter system. In most cases, both EROD (5.25 pmol/min/mg protein) and luciferase activities (994 relative light units/mg) were highest in extracts from the Advance site located in an industrial neighborhood in Juarez. These values represented 58% and 55%, respectively, of induction associated with 1 micro M ss-naphthoflavone exposures. In contrast, little activity was observed at the Northeast Clinic site in El Paso, the reference site. In most cases, luciferase and EROD activity from extracts collected from the Tillman Health Center site, situated in downtown El Paso, fell between those observed at the other two sites. Overall, a statistically significant correlation existed between PM10 and EROD and luciferase activities. Chemical analysis of extracts collected from the Advance site demonstrated that concentrations of most PAHs were higher than those reported in most other metropolitan areas in the United States. Calculations made with these data suggest a cancer risk of 5-12 cases per 100,000 people. This risk estimate, as well as comparisons with the work of other investigators, raises concern regarding the potential for adverse health effects to the residents of this airshed. Further work is needed to understand the sources, exposure, and effects of PM10 and particulate organic material in the Paso del Norte airshed.

  9. Anaerobic methane oxidation in low-organic content methane seep sediments

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pohlman, John W.; Riedel, Michael; Bauer, James E.; Canuel, Elizabeth A.; Paull, Charles K.; Lapham, Laura; Grabowski, Kenneth S.; Coffin, Richard B.; Spence, George D.

    2013-01-01

    Sulfate-dependent anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) is the key sedimentary microbial process limiting methane emissions from marine sediments and methane seeps. In this study, we investigate how the presence of low-organic content sediment influences the capacity and efficiency of AOM at Bullseye vent, a gas hydrate-bearing cold seep offshore of Vancouver Island, Canada. The upper 8 m of sediment contains 14C. A fossil origin for the DIC precludes remineralization of non-fossil OM present within the sulfate zone as a significant contributor to pore water DIC, suggesting that nearly all sulfate is available for anaerobic oxidation of fossil seep methane. Methane flux from the SMT to the sediment water interface in a diffusion-dominated flux region of Bullseye vent was, on average, 96% less than at an OM-rich seep in the Gulf of Mexico with a similar methane flux regime. Evidence for enhanced methane oxidation capacity within OM-poor sediments has implications for assessing how climate-sensitive reservoirs of sedimentary methane (e.g., gas hydrate) will respond to ocean warming, particularly along glacially-influenced mid and high latitude continental margins.

  10. Dynamic fluid flow and chemical fluxes associated with a seafloor gas hydrate deposit on the northern Gulf of Mexico slope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solomon, Evan A.; Kastner, Miriam; Jannasch, Hans; Robertson, Gretchen; Weinstein, Yishai

    2008-06-01

    Gas hydrates outcrop on the seafloor at the Bush Hill hydrocarbon seep site in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Four newly designed fluid flux meters/chemical samplers, called the MOSQUITO, were deployed for 430 days at Bush Hill to determine how dynamic subsurface fluid flow influences gas hydrate stability and to quantify the associated methane fluxes into the ocean. Three of the flux meters were deployed adjacent to an outcropping gas hydrate mound, while the fourth monitored background conditions. The flux meter measurements reveal that the subsurface hydrology in the vicinity of the mound is complex and variable with frequent changes from downward to upward flow ranging from - 161 to 273 cm/yr, and with temporal variations in the horizontal component of flow. The continuous record of fluid chemistry indicates that gas hydrate actively formed in the sediments. We propose that long periods of downward flow of seawater adjacent to gas vents (up to 4 months) are driven by local sub-pressure resulting from gas ebullition through faults and fractures due to overpressure at depth. High frequency variations in flow rates (days to weeks) are likely due to temporal changes in sediment permeability and the 3-D fluid flow field as a result of active gas hydrate and authigenic carbonate precipitation, as well as the presence of free gas. Gas hydrate formation occurred as a result of long-term emanation of CH4 at focused gas vents followed by a more diffuse intergranular methane flux. The estimated CH4 flux to the water column from focused gas vents across the Bush Hill seep is ~ 5•106 mol/yr. This significant flux suggests that Bush Hill and similar hydrocarbon seeps in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico may be important natural sources of methane to the ocean and possibly the atmosphere.

  11. Investigation of population structure in Gulf of Mexico Seepiophila jonesi (Polychaeta, Siboglinidae) using cross-amplified microsatellite loci

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Chunya; Schaeffer, Stephen W.; Fisher, Charles R.

    2016-01-01

    Background Vestimentiferan tubeworms are some of the most recognizable fauna found at deep-sea cold seeps, isolated environments where hydrocarbon rich fluids fuel biological communities. Several studies have investigated tubeworm population structure; however, much is still unknown about larval dispersal patterns at Gulf of Mexico (GoM) seeps. As such, researchers have applied microsatellite markers as a measure for documenting the transport of vestimentiferan individuals. In the present study, we investigate the utility of microsatellites to be cross-amplified within the escarpiid clade of seep vestimentiferans, by determining if loci originally developed for Escarpia spp. could be amplified in the GoM seep tubeworm, Seepiophila jonesi. Additionally, we determine if cross-amplified loci can reliably uncover the same signatures of high gene flow seen in a previous investigation of S. jonesi. Methods Seventy-seven S. jonesi individuals were collected from eight seep sites across the upper Louisiana slope (<1,000 m) in the GoM. Forty-eight microsatellite loci that were originally developed for Escarpia laminata (18 loci) and Escarpia southwardae (30 loci) were tested to determine if they were homologous and polymorphic in S. jonesi. Loci found to be both polymorphic and of high quality were used to test for significant population structuring in S. jonesi. Results Microsatellite pre-screening identified 13 (27%) of the Escarpia loci were homologous and polymorphic in S. jonesi, revealing that microsatellites can be amplified within the escarpiid clade of vestimentiferans. Our findings uncovered low levels of heterozygosity and a lack of genetic differentiation amongst S. jonesi from various sites and regions, in line with previous investigations that employed species-specific polymorphic loci on S. jonesi individuals retrieved from both the same and different seep sites. The lack of genetic structure identified from these populations supports the presence of

  12. Investigation of population structure in Gulf of Mexico Seepiophila jonesi (Polychaeta, Siboglinidae) using cross-amplified microsatellite loci.

    PubMed

    Huang, Chunya; Schaeffer, Stephen W; Fisher, Charles R; Cowart, Dominique A

    2016-01-01

    Vestimentiferan tubeworms are some of the most recognizable fauna found at deep-sea cold seeps, isolated environments where hydrocarbon rich fluids fuel biological communities. Several studies have investigated tubeworm population structure; however, much is still unknown about larval dispersal patterns at Gulf of Mexico (GoM) seeps. As such, researchers have applied microsatellite markers as a measure for documenting the transport of vestimentiferan individuals. In the present study, we investigate the utility of microsatellites to be cross-amplified within the escarpiid clade of seep vestimentiferans, by determining if loci originally developed for Escarpia spp. could be amplified in the GoM seep tubeworm, Seepiophila jonesi. Additionally, we determine if cross-amplified loci can reliably uncover the same signatures of high gene flow seen in a previous investigation of S. jonesi. Seventy-seven S. jonesi individuals were collected from eight seep sites across the upper Louisiana slope (<1,000 m) in the GoM. Forty-eight microsatellite loci that were originally developed for Escarpia laminata (18 loci) and Escarpia southwardae (30 loci) were tested to determine if they were homologous and polymorphic in S. jonesi. Loci found to be both polymorphic and of high quality were used to test for significant population structuring in S. jonesi. Microsatellite pre-screening identified 13 (27%) of the Escarpia loci were homologous and polymorphic in S. jonesi, revealing that microsatellites can be amplified within the escarpiid clade of vestimentiferans. Our findings uncovered low levels of heterozygosity and a lack of genetic differentiation amongst S. jonesi from various sites and regions, in line with previous investigations that employed species-specific polymorphic loci on S. jonesi individuals retrieved from both the same and different seep sites. The lack of genetic structure identified from these populations supports the presence of significant gene flow via larval

  13. Dispersants as Used in Response to the MC252-Spill Lead to Higher Mobility of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Oil-Contaminated Gulf of Mexico Sand

    PubMed Central

    Zuijdgeest, Alissa; Huettel, Markus

    2012-01-01

    After the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, large volumes of crude oil were washed onto and embedded in the sandy beaches and sublittoral sands of the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Some of this oil was mechanically or chemically dispersed before reaching the shore. With a set of laboratory-column experiments we show that the addition of chemical dispersants (Corexit 9500A) increases the mobility of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in saturated permeable sediments by up to two orders of magnitude. Distribution and concentrations of PAHs, measured in the solid phase and effluent water of the columns using GC/MS, revealed that the mobility of the PAHs depended on their hydrophobicity and was species specific also in the presence of dispersant. Deepest penetration was observed for acenaphthylene and phenanthrene. Flushing of the columns with seawater after percolation of the oiled water resulted in enhanced movement by remobilization of retained PAHs. An in-situ benthic chamber experiment demonstrated that aromatic hydrocarbons are transported into permeable sublittoral sediment, emphasizing the relevance of our laboratory column experiments in natural settings. We conclude that the addition of dispersants permits crude oil components to penetrate faster and deeper into permeable saturated sands, where anaerobic conditions may slow degradation of these compounds, thus extending the persistence of potentially harmful PAHs in the marine environment. Application of dispersants in nearshore oil spills should take into account enhanced penetration depths into saturated sands as this may entail potential threats to the groundwater. PMID:23209777

  14. Sulfur redox reactions: Hydrocarbons, native sulfur, Mississippi Valley-type deposits, and sulfuric acid karst in the Delaware Basin, New Mexico and Texas

    SciTech Connect

    Hill, C.A.

    1995-02-01

    Hydrocarbons, native sulfur, Mississippi Valley-type (MVT) deposits, and sulfuric acid karst in the Delaware Basin, southeastern New Mexico, and west Texas, USA, are all genetically related through a series of sulfur redox reactions. The relationship began with hydrocarbons in the basin that reacted with sulfate ions from evaporite rock to produce isotopically light ({delta}{sup 34}S = -22 to -12) H{sub 2}S and bioepigenetic limestone (castiles). This light H{sub 2}S was then oxidized at the redox interface to produce economic native sulfur deposits ({delta}{sup 34}S = -15 to +9) in the castiles, paleokarst, and along graben-boundary faults. This isotopically light H{sub 2}S also migrated from the basin into its margins to accumulate in structural (anticlinal) and stratigraphic (Yates siltstone) traps, where it formed MVT deposits within the zone of reduction ({delta}{sup 34}S = -15 to +7). Later in time, in the zone of oxidation, this H{sub 2}S reacted with oxygenated water to produce sulfuric acid, which dissolved the caves (e.g., Carlsbad Cavern and Lechuguilla Cave, Guadalupe Mountains). Massive gypsum blocks on the floors of the caves ({delta}{sup 34}S = -25 to +4) were formed as a result of this reaction. The H{sub 2}S also produced isotopically light cave sulfur ({delta}{sup 34}S = -24 to -15), which is now slowly oxidizing to gypsum in the presence of vadose drip water. 16 refs., 10 figs.

  15. Dispersants as used in response to the MC252-spill lead to higher mobility of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in oil-contaminated Gulf of Mexico sand.

    PubMed

    Zuijdgeest, Alissa; Huettel, Markus

    2012-01-01

    After the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, large volumes of crude oil were washed onto and embedded in the sandy beaches and sublittoral sands of the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Some of this oil was mechanically or chemically dispersed before reaching the shore. With a set of laboratory-column experiments we show that the addition of chemical dispersants (Corexit 9500A) increases the mobility of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in saturated permeable sediments by up to two orders of magnitude. Distribution and concentrations of PAHs, measured in the solid phase and effluent water of the columns using GC/MS, revealed that the mobility of the PAHs depended on their hydrophobicity and was species specific also in the presence of dispersant. Deepest penetration was observed for acenaphthylene and phenanthrene. Flushing of the columns with seawater after percolation of the oiled water resulted in enhanced movement by remobilization of retained PAHs. An in-situ benthic chamber experiment demonstrated that aromatic hydrocarbons are transported into permeable sublittoral sediment, emphasizing the relevance of our laboratory column experiments in natural settings. We conclude that the addition of dispersants permits crude oil components to penetrate faster and deeper into permeable saturated sands, where anaerobic conditions may slow degradation of these compounds, thus extending the persistence of potentially harmful PAHs in the marine environment. Application of dispersants in nearshore oil spills should take into account enhanced penetration depths into saturated sands as this may entail potential threats to the groundwater.

  16. Experimental evaluation of hydrocarbon detection with the Long-Offset Time-Domain Electromagnetic Method in the Cretaceous carbonates of the Tampico Misantla basin, Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hurtado Cardador, Manuel; Cuevas, Antonio L.; Watanabe, Hidehiko; Saito, Akira; Wada, Kazushige; Ishikawa, Hidehiro; Okuzumi, Koichi

    2003-02-01

    In Mexico, an experimental study with a Long-Offset Time-Domain Electromagnetic Method (LOTDEM) was carried out in the Tampico-Misantla basin of northeastern Mexico. The main objective was to evaluate this method for hydrocarbon exploration. The selected area is suitable for LOTDEM experiments because high quality seismic data, geological information and well logging data are available. The results obtained are excellent, and allow us to determine the types of fluids present in the rock pores and fractures of the studied geological structures. Resistivity anomalies correlate in position and depth with the geological structures observed in the seismic sections where the LOTDEM survey was carried out, and with well logging data from the nearby Franco Española oil field. In the studied area, these structures are 800-1200 m deep, in carbonate rocks with high clay content and are invaded by salt water. Consequently, the resistivity and primary porosities are very low. The main reservoirs of oil and gas in this region are a naturally fractured basinal facies, consisting of fine-grained limestones and shaly limestones, that corresponds to the Cretaceous units San Felipe, Agua Nueva, Tamaulipas Superior and Tamaulipas Inferior. The fractured rocks reservoirs are very difficult to detect, even with well logs. However, the results of this survey show the higher resolution, the greater depth of investigation, and the advantages that the LOTDEM method present compared to the traditional frequency domain electric and electromagnetic (FEM) methods.

  17. Interactions between nitrogen cycling and methane oxidation in the pelagic waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joye, S. B.; Weber, S.; Battles, J.; Montoya, J. P.

    2014-12-01

    Methane is an important greenhouse gas that plays a critical role in climate variation. Although a variety of marine methane sources and sinks have been identified, key aspects of the fate of methane in the ocean remain poorly constrained. At cold seeps in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere, methane is introduced into the overlying water column via fluid escape from the seabed. We quantified the fate of methane in the water column overlying seafloor cold seeps, in a brine basin, and at several control sites. Our goals were to determine the factors that regulated methane consumption and assimilation and to explore how these controlling factors varied among and between sites. In particular, we examined the impact of nitrogen availability on methane oxidation and studied the ability of methane oxidizing bacteria to fix molecular nitrogen. Methane oxidation rates were highest in the methane rich bottom waters of natural hydrocabron seeps. At these sites, inorganic nitrogen addition stimulated methane oxidation in laboratory experiments. In vitro shipboard experiments revealed that rates of methane oxidation and nitrogen fixation were correlated strongly, suggesting that nitrogen fixation may have been mediated by methanotrophic bacteria. The highest rates of methane oxidation and nitrogen fixation were observed in the deepwater above at natural hydrocarbon seeps. Rates of methane oxidation were substantial along the chemocline of a brine basin but in these ammonium-rich brines, addition of inorganic nitrogen had little impact on methane oxidation suggesting that methanotrophy in these waters were not nitrogen limited. Control sites exhibited the lowest methane concentrations and methane oxidation rates but even these waters exhibited substantial potential for methane oxidation when methane and inorganic nitrogen concentrations were increased. Together, these data suggest that the availability of inorganic nitrogen plays a critical role in regulating methane oxidation in

  18. Cold Seep Epifaunal Communities on the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand: Composition, Succession, and Vulnerability to Human Activities

    PubMed Central

    Bowden, David A.; Rowden, Ashley A.; Thurber, Andrew R.; Baco, Amy R.; Levin, Lisa A.; Smith, Craig R.

    2013-01-01

    Cold seep communities with distinctive chemoautotrophic fauna occur where hydrocarbon-rich fluids escape from the seabed. We describe community composition, population densities, spatial extent, and within-region variability of epifaunal communities at methane-rich cold seep sites on the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand. Using data from towed camera transects, we match observations to information about the probable life-history characteristics of the principal fauna to develop a hypothetical succession sequence for the Hikurangi seep communities, from the onset of fluid flux to senescence. New Zealand seep communities exhibit taxa characteristic of seeps in other regions, including predominance of large siboglinid tubeworms, vesicomyid clams, and bathymodiolin mussels. Some aspects appear to be novel; however, particularly the association of dense populations of ampharetid polychaetes with high-sulphide, high-methane flux, soft-sediment microhabitats. The common occurrence of these ampharetids suggests they play a role in conditioning sulphide-rich sediments at the sediment-water interface, thus facilitating settlement of clam and tubeworm taxa which dominate space during later successional stages. The seep sites are subject to disturbance from bottom trawling at present and potentially from gas hydrate extraction in future. The likely life-history characteristics of the dominant megafauna suggest that while ampharetids, clams, and mussels exploit ephemeral resources through rapid growth and reproduction, lamellibrachid tubeworm populations may persist potentially for centuries. The potential consequences of gas hydrate extraction cannot be fully assessed until extraction methods and target localities are defined but any long-term modification of fluid flow to seep sites would have consequences for all chemoautotrophic fauna. PMID:24204691

  19. Cold seep epifaunal communities on the Hikurangi margin, New Zealand: composition, succession, and vulnerability to human activities.

    PubMed

    Bowden, David A; Rowden, Ashley A; Thurber, Andrew R; Baco, Amy R; Levin, Lisa A; Smith, Craig R

    2013-01-01

    Cold seep communities with distinctive chemoautotrophic fauna occur where hydrocarbon-rich fluids escape from the seabed. We describe community composition, population densities, spatial extent, and within-region variability of epifaunal communities at methane-rich cold seep sites on the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand. Using data from towed camera transects, we match observations to information about the probable life-history characteristics of the principal fauna to develop a hypothetical succession sequence for the Hikurangi seep communities, from the onset of fluid flux to senescence. New Zealand seep communities exhibit taxa characteristic of seeps in other regions, including predominance of large siboglinid tubeworms, vesicomyid clams, and bathymodiolin mussels. Some aspects appear to be novel; however, particularly the association of dense populations of ampharetid polychaetes with high-sulphide, high-methane flux, soft-sediment microhabitats. The common occurrence of these ampharetids suggests they play a role in conditioning sulphide-rich sediments at the sediment-water interface, thus facilitating settlement of clam and tubeworm taxa which dominate space during later successional stages. The seep sites are subject to disturbance from bottom trawling at present and potentially from gas hydrate extraction in future. The likely life-history characteristics of the dominant megafauna suggest that while ampharetids, clams, and mussels exploit ephemeral resources through rapid growth and reproduction, lamellibrachid tubeworm populations may persist potentially for centuries. The potential consequences of gas hydrate extraction cannot be fully assessed until extraction methods and target localities are defined but any long-term modification of fluid flow to seep sites would have consequences for all chemoautotrophic fauna.

  20. Environmental effects of submarine seeping natural gas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dando, P. R.; Hovland, M.

    1992-10-01

    It is suspected that most shallow reservoirs of natural gas vent to the surface to some degree. This seeping may be through diffusion of dissolved gas or by a flow of gas bubbles which entrain interstitial water during the rise through the sediments to the surface. Methane bubbles dissolved other gases, notably hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide, during their ascent. Under suitable temperature-pressure conditions gas hydrates may be formed close to or at the seabed Black suphide-rich sediments and mats of sulphur oxidizing bacteria are frequently observed close to the sediments surface at seep sites, including a sharp oxic/anoxic boundary. Animal species associated with these gas seeps include both species which obtain nutrition from symbiotic methane-oxidizing bacteria and species with symbolic sulphur-oxidizing bacteria. It is suspected that at some microseepage an enhanced biomass of meiofauna and macrofauna is supported by a food chain based on free-living and symbiotic sulphur-oxidizing and methane-oxidizing bacteria. The most common seep-related features of sea floor topography are local depressions including pockmark craters. Winnowing of the sediment during their creation leads to an accumulation of larger detritis in the depressions. Where the deprssions overlies salt diapirs they may be filled with hypersaline solutions. In some areas dome-shaped features are associated with seepage and these may be colonized by coral reefs. Other reefs, "hard-grounds", columnar and disc-shaped protrusions, all formed of carbonate-cemented sediments, are common on the sea floor in seep areas. Much of the carbonate appears to be derived from carbon dioxide formed as a result of methane oxidation. The resulting hard-bottoms on the sea floor are often colonized by species not found on the neighboring soft-bottoms. As a result seep areas may be characterized by the presence of a rich epifauna.

  1. Cold seep-related occurrence of the Early Jurassic rhynchonellid brachiopod Anarhynchia from the Canadian Cordillera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pálfy, József; Price, Gregory D.; Vörös, Attila; Kovács, Zsófia; Johannson, Gary G.

    2017-04-01

    Cold seeps, where seepage of methane and/or other hydrocarbon-rich fluids and hydrogen-sulfide occurs in the sea floor, are sites which harbor highly specialized ecosystems associated with distinctive carbonate sediments. Although their Mesozoic record is scarce and patchy, it commonly includes rhynchonellid brachiopods, often of large size. Each new occurrence is valuable in filling gaps and providing additional insight into these peculiar ecosystems. Here we report a monospecific assemblage of Anarhynchia from a boulder-sized limestone clast of Early Pliensbachian (Early Jurassic) age in the Inklin Formation of the Whitehorse Trough in Stikine terrane, recovered from a locality at Copper Island in Atlin Lake, northern British Columbia, Canada. Specimens are of unusually large size, up to 9 cm in length, and their external and internal morphology allows assignment to Anarhynchia but warrants introduction of a new species. Although d13C and d18O values of the shells are close to equilibrium with ancient seawater, early precipitated carbonate cement phases of the enclosing limestone are characterised by highly depleted carbon isotopic composition, indicative of the influence of microbial oxidation of methane derived from a cold seep. Carbonate petrography of the isopachous, banded-fibrous cement supports its origin in a cold seep environment. Volcanogenic detrital grains in the micritic matrix of the limestone clast are indistinguishable from those in the sandstone layers in the siliciclastic sequence, suggesting that the seep carbonate is broadly coeval with the enclosing conglomerate. Previously, Anarhynchia has been known from the Lower Jurassic of California and Oregon, from both cold seep and hydrothermal vent deposits. Our new record extends the geographic range and species-level diversity of the genus, but supports its endemism to the East Pacific and membership in chemosynthesis-based ecosystems.

  2. Biogenic methane from abyssal brine seeps at the base of the Florida escarpment

    SciTech Connect

    Martens, C.S.; Chanton, J.P.; Paull, C.K. )

    1991-08-01

    Dissolved methane is present at concentrations exceeding 10mM in the pore waters of sulfidic, salt-brine-enriched sediments underlying chemosynthetic communities at the base of the Florida escarpment. Light hydrocarbon samples were obtained from brine seep sediments by means of an in situ probe and push cores deployed by the deep submersible Alvin. Pore-water methane had a {delta}{sup 13}C value of {minus}83.3 {plus minus}7.0 (Peedee belemnite, N = 17), contained < 1.3% modern carbon, and was enriched over ethane concentrations by 10{sup 3} to 10{sup 5}; these results all indicate a fossil, biogenic carbon source within the Florida platform. Methane-rich brine fluids arriving at seep sites are depleted in dissolved sulfate, although they have been diluted twenty-fold with sulfate-rich seawater during transit. It appears that sulfate reduction and methano-genesis are important processes within the platform.

  3. High-resolution AUV mapping and sampling of a deep hydrocarbon plume in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ryan, J. P.; Zhang, Y.; Thomas, H.; Rienecker, E.; Nelson, R.; Cummings, S.

    2010-12-01

    During NOAA cruise GU-10-02 on the Ship Gordon Gunter, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Dorado was deployed to map and sample a deep (900-1200 m) volume centered approximately seven nautical miles southwest of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. Dorado was equipped to detect optical and chemical signals of hydrocarbons and to acquire targeted samples. The primary sensor reading used for hydrocarbon detection was colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) fluorescence (CF). On June 2 and 3, ship cast and subsequent AUV surveys detected elevated CF in a layer between 1100 and 1200 m depth. While the deep volume was mapped in a series of parallel vertical sections, the AUV ran a peak-capture algorithm to target sample acquisition at layer signal peaks. Samples returned by ship CTD/CF rosette sampling and by AUV were preliminarily examined at sea, and they exhibited odor and fluorometric signal consistent with oil. More definitive and detailed results on these samples are forthcoming from shore-based laboratory analyses. During post-cruise analysis, all of the CF data were analyzed to objectively define and map the deep plume feature. Specifically, the maximum expected background CF over the depth range 1000-1200 m was extrapolated from a linear relationship between depth and maximum CF over the depth range 200 to 1000 m. Values exceeding the maximum expected background in the depth range 1000-1200 m were interpreted as signal from a hydrocarbon-enriched plume. Using this definition we examine relationships between CF and other AUV measurements within the plume, illustrate the three-dimensional structure of the plume boundary region that was mapped, describe small-scale layering on isopycnals, and examine short-term variations in plume depth, intensity and hydrographic relationships. Three-dimensional representation of part of a deep hydrocarbon plume mapped and sampled by AUV on June 2-3, 2010.

  4. High rates of denitrification and nitrate removal in cold seep sediments

    PubMed Central

    Bowles, Marshall; Joye, Samantha

    2011-01-01

    We measured denitrification and nitrate removal rates in cold seep sediments from the Gulf of Mexico. Heterotrophic potential denitrification rates were assayed in time-series incubations. Surficial sediments inhabited by Beggiatoa exhibited higher heterotrophic potential denitrification rates (32 μ N reduced day−1) than did deeper sediments (11 μ N reduced day−1). Nitrate removal rates were high in both sediment horizons. These nitrate removal rates translate into rapid turnover times (<1 day) for the nitrate pool, resulting in a faster turnover for the nitrate pool than for the sulfate pool. Together, these data underscore the rigorous nature of internal nitrogen cycling at cold seeps and the requirement for novel mechanisms to provide nitrate to the sediment microbial community. PMID:20944683

  5. High rates of denitrification and nitrate removal in cold seep sediments.

    PubMed

    Bowles, Marshall; Joye, Samantha

    2011-03-01

    We measured denitrification and nitrate removal rates in cold seep sediments from the Gulf of Mexico. Heterotrophic potential denitrification rates were assayed in time-series incubations. Surficial sediments inhabited by Beggiatoa exhibited higher heterotrophic potential denitrification rates (32 μM N reduced day(-1)) than did deeper sediments (11 μM N reduced day(-1)). Nitrate removal rates were high in both sediment horizons. These nitrate removal rates translate into rapid turnover times (<1 day) for the nitrate pool, resulting in a faster turnover for the nitrate pool than for the sulfate pool. Together, these data underscore the rigorous nature of internal nitrogen cycling at cold seeps and the requirement for novel mechanisms to provide nitrate to the sediment microbial community.

  6. Methane-derived carbonates form at the sediment-bedrock interface in a shallow marine gas seep.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kimball, J.; Ding, H.; Valentine, D. L.

    2006-12-01

    Hydrocarbon seeps occur world-wide, and release large quantities of oil and natural gas to the ocean and atmosphere. One of the world's most prolific hydrocarbon seep fields is located just offshore from Goleta, CA, and serves as the study site for this investigation. In the course of investigating gas fluxes from a 10 m deep coastal seep, samples of seafloor bedrock were collected by scuba diving during a time of low sediment burden. These samples were found to be concretions composed primarily of carbonate-cemented sand. The delta13C values of the carbonate range from -25 to -32 per mille, and indicate a role for methane oxidation in the formation of the carbonates. Long chain fatty acids were extracted from the concretions and were quantified, identified, and analyzed for their 13C composition. Fatty acids typical of sulfate reducing bacteria were observed, and interpreted as a signature of anoxia. Further mineralogical and isotopic studies are planned. From these observations we interpret a shallow water origin for these concretions, whereby the seasonal migration of sand to the seep environment drives anoxia and anaerobic methane oxidation at the sediment-bedrock interface. The alkalinity generated from sulfate reduction causes the precipitation of methane-derived carbonate- which forms a concretion with sand.

  7. Stable carbon, nitrogen and sulfur isotopes in non-carbonate fractions of cold-seep carbonates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feng, Dong; Peng, Yongbo; Peckmann, Jörn; Roberts, Harry; Chen, Duofu

    2017-04-01

    Sulfate-driven anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) supports chemosynthesis-based communities and limits the release of methane from marine sediments. This process promotes the formation of carbonates close to the seafloor along continental margins. The geochemical characteristics of the carbonate minerals of these rocks are increasingly understood, questions remain about the geochemical characteristics of the non-carbonate fractions. Here, we report stable carbon, nitrogen and sulfur isotope patterns in non-carbonate fractions of seep carbonates. The authigenic carbonates were collected from three modern seep provinces (Black Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and South China Sea) and three ancient seep deposits (Marmorito, northern Italy, Miocene; SR4 deposit of the Lincoln Creek Formation and Whiskey Creek, western Washington, USA, Eocene to Oligocene). The δ13C values of non-carbonate fractions range from ˜-25‰ to -80‰ VPDB. These values indicate that fossil methane mixed with varying amounts of pelagic organic matter is the dominant source of carbon in these fractions. The relatively small offset between the δ34S signatures of the non-carbonate fractions and the respective sulfide minerals suggests that locally produced hydrogen sulfide is the main source of sulfur in seep environments. The δ15N values of the non-carbonate fractions are generally lower than the corresponding values of deep-sea sediments, suggesting that organic nitrogen is mostly of a local origin. This study reveals the potential of using δ13C, δ15N, δ34S values to discern seep and non-seep deposits. In cases where δ13Ccarbonate values are only moderately low due to mixing processes and lipid biomarkers have been erased in the course of burial, it is difficult to trace back AOM owing to the lack of other records. This problem is even more pronounced when authigenic carbonate is not available in ancient seep environments. Acknowledgments: The authors thank BOEM and NOAA for their years' support

  8. Field Exploration of Methane Seep Near Atqasuk

    SciTech Connect

    Katey Walter, Dennis Witmer, Gwen Holdmann

    2008-12-31

    Methane (CH{sub 4}) in natural gas is a major energy source in the U.S., and is used extensively on Alaska's North Slope, including the oilfields in Prudhoe Bay, the community of Barrow, and the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska (NPRA). Smaller villages, however, are dependent on imported diesel fuel for both power and heating, resulting in some of the highest energy costs in the U.S. and crippling local economies. Numerous CH{sub 4} gas seeps have been observed on wetlands near Atqasuk, Alaska (in the NPRA), and initial measurements have indicated flow rates of 3,000-5,000 ft{sup 3} day{sup -1} (60-100 kg CH{sub 4} day{sup -1}). Gas samples collected in 1996 indicated biogenic origin, although more recent sampling indicated a mixture of biogenic and thermogenic gas. In this study, we (1) quantified the amount of CH{sub 4} generated by several seeps and evaluated their potential use as an unconventional gas source for the village of Atqasuk; (2) collected gas and analyzed its composition from multiple seeps several miles apart to see if the source is the same, or if gas is being generated locally from isolated biogenic sources; and (3) assessed the potential magnitude of natural CH{sub 4} gas seeps for future use in climate change modeling.

  9. Hydrocarbon-Degrading Bacteria and the Bacterial Community Response in Gulf of Mexico Beach Sands Impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill▿†‡

    PubMed Central

    Kostka, Joel E.; Prakash, Om; Overholt, Will A.; Green, Stefan J.; Freyer, Gina; Canion, Andy; Delgardio, Jonathan; Norton, Nikita; Hazen, Terry C.; Huettel, Markus

    2011-01-01

    A significant portion of oil from the recent Deepwater Horizon (DH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was transported to the shoreline, where it may have severe ecological and economic consequences. The objectives of this study were (i) to identify and characterize predominant oil-degrading taxa that may be used as model hydrocarbon degraders or as microbial indicators of contamination and (ii) to characterize the in situ response of indigenous bacterial communities to oil contamination in beach ecosystems. This study was conducted at municipal Pensacola Beach, FL, where chemical analysis revealed weathered oil petroleum hydrocarbon (C8 to C40) concentrations ranging from 3.1 to 4,500 mg kg−1 in beach sands. A total of 24 bacterial strains from 14 genera were isolated from oiled beach sands and confirmed as oil-degrading microorganisms. Isolated bacterial strains were primarily Gammaproteobacteria, including representatives of genera with known oil degraders (Alcanivorax, Marinobacter, Pseudomonas, and Acinetobacter). Sequence libraries generated from oiled sands revealed phylotypes that showed high sequence identity (up to 99%) to rRNA gene sequences from the oil-degrading bacterial isolates. The abundance of bacterial SSU rRNA gene sequences was ∼10-fold higher in oiled (0.44 × 107 to 10.2 × 107 copies g−1) versus clean (0.024 × 107 to 1.4 × 107 copies g−1) sand. Community analysis revealed a distinct response to oil contamination, and SSU rRNA gene abundance derived from the genus Alcanivorax showed the largest increase in relative abundance in contaminated samples. We conclude that oil contamination from the DH spill had a profound impact on the abundance and community composition of indigenous bacteria in Gulf beach sands, and our evidence points to members of the Gammaproteobacteria (Alcanivorax, Marinobacter) and Alphaproteobacteria (Rhodobacteraceae) as key players in oil degradation there. PMID:21948834

  10. Hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria and the bacterial community response in gulf of Mexico beach sands impacted by the deepwater horizon oil spill.

    PubMed

    Kostka, Joel E; Prakash, Om; Overholt, Will A; Green, Stefan J; Freyer, Gina; Canion, Andy; Delgardio, Jonathan; Norton, Nikita; Hazen, Terry C; Huettel, Markus

    2011-11-01

    A significant portion of oil from the recent Deepwater Horizon (DH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was transported to the shoreline, where it may have severe ecological and economic consequences. The objectives of this study were (i) to identify and characterize predominant oil-degrading taxa that may be used as model hydrocarbon degraders or as microbial indicators of contamination and (ii) to characterize the in situ response of indigenous bacterial communities to oil contamination in beach ecosystems. This study was conducted at municipal Pensacola Beach, FL, where chemical analysis revealed weathered oil petroleum hydrocarbon (C₈ to C₄₀) concentrations ranging from 3.1 to 4,500 mg kg⁻¹ in beach sands. A total of 24 bacterial strains from 14 genera were isolated from oiled beach sands and confirmed as oil-degrading microorganisms. Isolated bacterial strains were primarily Gammaproteobacteria, including representatives of genera with known oil degraders (Alcanivorax, Marinobacter, Pseudomonas, and Acinetobacter). Sequence libraries generated from oiled sands revealed phylotypes that showed high sequence identity (up to 99%) to rRNA gene sequences from the oil-degrading bacterial isolates. The abundance of bacterial SSU rRNA gene sequences was ∼10-fold higher in oiled (0.44 × 10⁷ to 10.2 × 10⁷ copies g⁻¹) versus clean (0.024 × 10⁷ to 1.4 × 10⁷ copies g⁻¹) sand. Community analysis revealed a distinct response to oil contamination, and SSU rRNA gene abundance derived from the genus Alcanivorax showed the largest increase in relative abundance in contaminated samples. We conclude that oil contamination from the DH spill had a profound impact on the abundance and community composition of indigenous bacteria in Gulf beach sands, and our evidence points to members of the Gammaproteobacteria (Alcanivorax, Marinobacter) and Alphaproteobacteria (Rhodobacteraceae) as key players in oil degradation there.

  11. A conceptual model for hydrocarbon accumulation and seepage processes inside Chapopote asphalt volcanism site, Southern Gulf of Mexico: from high resolution seismic point of view

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ding, F.; Spiess, V.; Fekete, N.; Keil, H.; Bohrmann, G.

    2007-05-01

    As part of the German R/V Meteor M67/2 expedition in 2006 to the southern Gulf of Mexico, a set of 2D high resolution seismic profiles was acquired across the Chapopote knoll to study sea floor asphalt occurrences and their origin. Based on regional seismic stratigraphy studies, correlated to DSDP sites, a higher reflective coarse grained sediment unit of Late Miocene age is identified as a potential shallow gas reservoir, overlain by a low permeability fine grained Pliocene and Pleistocene cover. As a result of salt diapirism, local uplift has caused reduced accumulation rates above the diaper since the late Pliocene, while the rates had been uniform throughout the area before. This has further improved the seal properties, since more fine grained material deposited in elevated locations. Nevertheless, on the crest of Chapopote, sediments above the coarse sediment unit are only around 150-75 m thick. Since oil and gas production can well be expected at depth in Jurassic and Tertiary source rocks, the presence of high amplitude reflector packages within the reservoir unit is interpreted as a result of the presence of hydrocarbons. This interpretation is further supported by the observation that some reflectors are cross-cutting and/or reveal a drop in instantaneous frequency. But, the thin seal above the reservoir unit, located directly underneath a widespread occurrence of asphalts at the sea floor, probably facilitates the leakage of hydrocarbons trapped inside the reservoir through a ~ 750 m wide acoustically chaotic zone partly aided by faulting. Since the top of Chapopote shows a high structural complexity, more seepage sites may exist beyond where seafloor asphalts have been found so far. Evolution and structure of the migration and reservoir system, which may be deep rooted, will be discussed both with respect to shallow gas and asphalt occurrences.

  12. Seeps regulate stream nitrate concentration in a forested Appalachian catchment.

    PubMed

    O'Driscoll, Michael A; DeWalle, David R

    2010-01-01

    Surface seeps can be defined as locations where upwelling ground water saturates the surface for most of the year and excess ground water can be delivered to the stream channel via surface flowpaths. If a stream is predominantly fed by seeps, then ground water added to the stream via these surface flowpaths may result in reduced interactions with the subsurface riparian zone. It is generally believed that seep ground water that upwells and then flows along surface flowpaths can be subject to diminished denitrification and biologic uptake processes. Seep effects on stream nitrate (NO(3)) concentration were studied in Baldwin Creek (5.35 km(2)), southwestern Pennsylvania. Nitrate retention within seep zones was evaluated over a 1-yr period (May 2002-2003) using a monthly, nested (top and bottom of seep) sampling approach along 15 individual seeps. Seep samples were analyzed for NO(3)-N, NH(3)-N, and dissolved organic carbon, along with stream waters and streamflow measurements at seven stream stations. Seeps were generally NO(3) sinks with concentrations decreasing downseep: 31% median annual reduction and 73% maximum monthly reduction. During cold and wet periods, seeps frequently behaved as NO(3) sources to the stream (NO(3) concentrations increased or remained constant downseep). Seep temperature and discharge were related to seasonal variability in seep NO(3) retention. Seasonal variations in stream NO(3) concentration have been attributed to upland soil and vegetation processes in numerous watersheds. At Baldwin Creek, seep NO(3) processing regulated the seasonal variability of stream NO(3) concentrations. These results suggest that seeps provide important water quality functions and can modulate the effects of elevated regional N deposition in Appalachian catchments.

  13. Basin-Wide Temperature Constraints On Gas Hydrate Stability In The Gulf Of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacDonald, I. R.; Reagan, M. T.; Guinasso, N. L.; Garcia-Pineda, O. G.

    2012-12-01

    Gas hydrate deposits commonly occur at the seafloor-water interface on marine margins. They are especially prevalent in the Gulf of Mexico where they are associated with natural oil seeps. The stability of these deposits is potentially challenged by fluctuations in bottom water temperature, on an annual time-scale, and under the long-term influence of climate change. We mapped the locations of natural oil seeps where shallow gas hydrate deposits are known to occur across the entire Gulf of Mexico basin based on a comprehensive review of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data (~200 images). We prepared a bottom water temperature map based on the archive of CTD casts from the Gulf (~6000 records). Comparing the distribution of gas hydrate deposits with predicted bottom water temperature, we find that a broad area of the upper slope lies above the theoretical stability horizon for structure 1 gas hydrate, while all sites where gas hydrate deposits occur are within the stability horizon for structure 2 gas hydrate. This is consistent with analytical results that structure 2 gas hydrates predominate on the upper slope (Klapp et al., 2010), where bottom water temperatures fluctuate over a 7 to 10 C range (approx. 600 m depth), while pure structure 1 hydrates are found at greater depths (approx. 3000 m). Where higher hydrocarbon gases are available, formation of structure 2 gas hydrate should significantly increase the resistance of shallow gas hydrate deposits to destabilizing effects variable or increasing bottom water temperature. Klapp, S.A., Bohrmann, G., Kuhs, W.F., Murshed, M.M., Pape, T., Klein, H., Techmer, K.S., Heeschen, K.U., and Abegg, F., 2010, Microstructures of structure I and II gas hydrates from the Gulf of Mexico: Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 27, p. 116-125.Bottom temperature and pressure for Gulf of Mexico gas hydrate outcrops and stability horizons for sI and sII hydrate.

  14. Application of Satellite SAR for Discovery and Quantification of Natural Marine Oil Seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amos, J.; Lai, R.; Zimmer, B.; Leiva, A.; MacDonald, I.

    2006-12-01

    Natural marine oil seeps discharge gassy drops from the seafloor. Oil drops and gas bubbles reach the surface from water depths as great as 3000m. The oil spreads rapidly, forming an invisible layer that drifts down-wind and down-current in long, linear streaks called slicks. Oil slicks are visible in SAR data because the surfactant dampens capillary waves and reduces backscatter. Application of SAR as an exploration tool in energy prospecting is well-established. We have applied this technique for discovering the chemosynthetic communities that colonize the seafloor in the vicinity of deep-water seeps on the continental margin of the Gulf of Mexico. The management goal for this effort is to prevent harmful impact to these communities resulting from exploration or production activities. The scientific goals are to delineate the zoogeography of the chemosynthetic fauna, which is widespread on continental margins, and to establish study sites where their life history can be investigated. In the course of an ongoing, multidisciplinary study in the spring and summer of 2006, we explored 20 possible sites where SAR and geophysical data indicated seeps might occur. SAR was only partly diagnostic: all sites with SAR-detected slicks were found to have biologic communities, but communities were also found at geophysical anomalies that did not produce slicks. We acquired over 60 RADARSAT SAR images from the northern Gulf of Mexico in cooperation with the Alaska Satellite Facility. The ship RV ATLANTIS was at sea during the acquisition and collected synoptic weather and oceanographic data. To automate interpretation of large image dataset we have employed texture recognition with use of a library of textons applied iteratively to the images. This treatment shows promise in distinguishing floating oil from false targets generated by rain fronts and other phenomena. One goal of the analysis is to delineate bounding boxes to quantify the ocean area covered by the thin oil layer

  15. Distribution and concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons associated with the BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Sammarco, Paul W; Kolian, Steve R; Warby, Richard A F; Bouldin, Jennifer L; Subra, Wilma A; Porter, Scott A

    2013-08-15

    We examined the geographic extent of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination in sediment, seawater, biota, and seafood during/after the BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (April 20-July 15, 2010; 28.736667°N, -88.386944°W). TPH, PAHs, and 12 compound classes were examined, particularly C1-benzo(a)anthracenes/chrysenes, C-2-/C-4-phenanthrenes/anthracenes, and C3-naphthalenes. Sediment TPH, PAHs, and all classes peaked near Pensacola, Florida, and Galveston, Texas. Seawater TPH peaked off Pensacola; all of the above classes peaked off the Mississippi River, Louisiana and Galveston. Biota TPH and PAHs peaked near the Mississippi River; C-3 napthalenes peaked near the spill site. Seafood TPH peaked near the spill site, with PAHs and all classes peaking near Pensacola. We recommend that oil concentrations continued to be monitored in these media well after the spill has ceased to assist in defining re-opening dates for fisheries; closures should be maintained until hydrocarbon levels are deemed within appropriate limits. Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  16. Concentrations in human blood of petroleum hydrocarbons associated with the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Sammarco, Paul W; Kolian, Stephan R; Warby, Richard A F; Bouldin, Jennifer L; Subra, Wilma A; Porter, Scott A

    2016-04-01

    During/after the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill, cleanup workers, fisherpersons, SCUBA divers, and coastal residents were exposed to crude oil and dispersants. These people experienced acute physiological and behavioral symptoms and consulted a physician. They were diagnosed with petroleum hydrocarbon poisoning and had blood analyses analyzed for volatile organic compounds; samples were drawn 5-19 months after the spill had been capped. We examined the petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations in the blood. The aromatic compounds m,p-xylene, toluene, ethylbenzene, benzene, o-xylene, and styrene, and the alkanes hexane, 3-methylpentane, 2-methylpentane, and iso-octane were detected. Concentrations of the first four aromatics were not significantly different from US National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey/US National Institute of Standards and Technology 95th percentiles, indicating high concentrations of contaminants. The other two aromatics and the alkanes yielded equivocal results or significantly low concentrations. The data suggest that single-ring aromatic compounds are more persistent in the blood than alkanes and may be responsible for the observed symptoms. People should avoid exposure to crude oil through avoidance of the affected region, or utilizing hazardous materials suits if involved in cleanup, or wearing hazardous waste operations and emergency response suits if SCUBA diving. Concentrations of alkanes and PAHs in the blood of coastal residents and workers should be monitored through time well after the spill has been controlled.

  17. Sulfuric acid speleogenesis of Carlsbad Cavern and its relationship to hydrocarbons, Delaware basin, New Mexico and Texas

    SciTech Connect

    Hill, C.A. )

    1990-11-01

    Sulfur-isotope data and pH-dependence of the mineral endellite support the hypothesis that Carlsbad Cavern and other caves in the Guadalupe Mountains were dissolved primarily by sulfuric acid rather than by carbonic acid. Floor gypsum deposits up to 10 m thick and native sulfur in the caves are significantly enriched in {sup 32}S; {delta}{sup 34}S values as low as {minus}25.8 {per thousand} (CDT) indicate that the cave sulfur and gypsum are the end products of microbial reactions associated with hydrocarbons. A model for a genetic connection between hydrocarbons in the basin and caves in the Guadalupe Mountains is proposed. As the Guadalupe Mountains were uplifted during the late Pliocene-Pleistocene, oil and gas moved updip in the basin. The gas reacted with sulfate anions derived from dissolution of the Castile anhydrite to form H{sub 2}S, CO{sub 2}, and castile limestone. The hydrogen sulfide rose into the Capitan reef along joints, forereef carbonate beds, or Bell Canyon siliciclastic beds and there reacted with oxygenated groundwater to form sulfuric acid and Carlsbad Cavern. A sulfuric-acid mode of dissolution may be responsible for large-scale porosity of some Delaware basin reservoirs and for oil-field karst reservoirs in other petroleum basins of the world. 8 figs.

  18. Induction of c-Jun by air particulate matter (PM₁₀) of Mexico city: Participation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

    PubMed

    Salcido-Neyoy, Martha Estela; Sánchez-Pérez, Yesennia; Osornio-Vargas, Alvaro Román; Gonsebatt, María Eugenia; Meléndez-Zajgla, Jorge; Morales-Bárcenas, Rocío; Petrosyan, Pavel; Molina-Servin, Edith Danny; Vega, Elizabeth; Manzano-León, Natalia; García-Cuellar, Claudia M

    2015-08-01

    The carcinogenic potential of urban particulate matter (PM) has been partly attributed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) content, which activates the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). Here we report the effect of PM with an aerodynamic size of 10 μm (PM10) on the induction of AhR pathway in A549 cells, evaluating its downstream targets CYP1B1, IL-6, IL-8 and c-Jun. Significant increases in CYP1B1 protein and enzyme activity; IL-6 and IL-8 secretion and c-Jun protein were found in response to PM10. The formation of PAH-DNA adducts was also detected. The involvement of AhR pathway was confirmed with Resveratrol as AhR antagonist, which reversed CYP1B1 and c-Jun induction. Nevertheless, in IL-6 and IL-8 secretion, the Resveratrol was ineffective, suggesting an effect independent of this pathway. Considering the role of c-Jun in oncogenesis, its induction by PM may be contributing to its carcinogenic potential through induction of AhR pathway by PAHs present in PM10.

  19. The carbon isotope biogeochemistry of the individual hydrocarbons in bat guano and the ecology of insectivorous bats in the region of Carlsbad, New Mexico

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Desmarais, D. J.; Mitchell, J. M.; Meinschein, W. G.; Hayes, J. M.

    1980-01-01

    The structures and C-13 contents of individual alkanes extracted from bat guano found in the Carlsbad region of New Mexico can be related to both the photosynthetic pathways of the local plants and the feeding habits of the insects that support the bats. Carbon isotopic analyses of the 62 most important plant species in the Pecos River Valley, the most significant feeding area for the Carlsbad bats, reveal the presence of 29 species with C3 photosynthesis and 33 species, mostly grasses, with C4 photosynthesis. Although the abundances of nonagricultural C3 and C4 plants are similar, alfalfa and cotton, both C3 plants, constitute over 95 per cent of the crop biomass. The molecular composition of the bat guano hydrocarbons is fully consistent with an insect origin. Two isotopically distinct groups of insect branched alkanes were discerned. These two groups of alkanes derived from two chemotaxonomically distinct populations of insects possessing distinctly different feeding habits. It is likely that one population grazes predominantly on crops whereas the other population prefers native vegetation. This and other isotopic evidence supports the notion that crop pests constitute a major percentage of the bats' diet.

  20. Fates, Budgets, and Health Implications of Macondo Spill Volatile Hydrocarbons in the Ocean and Atmosphere of the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leifer, I.; Barletta, B.; Blake, D. R.; Blake, N. J.; Bradley, E. S.; Meinardi, S.; Lehr, B.; Luyendyk, B. P.; Roberts, D. A.; Rowland, F. S.

    2010-12-01

    The Macondo Oil Spill released unprecedented oil and gas to the ocean, estimated at 63000 bbl/day, which dispersed and dissolved during rise (Technical Flow Rate Team Report, 2010); yet, most of the oil reached the sea surface as oil slicks that then evolved due to weathering and dispersant application (Mass Balance Report, 2010). Remote sensing (near infrared imaging spectrometry) allowed quantification of thick surface oil, values of which were incorporated into an overall oil budget calculation. Remote sensing data, atmospheric samples, and numerical modeling, strongly suggest significant volatile loss during rise, yet measured atmospheric concentrations were high. Scaling atmospheric measurements to the total oil spill implies very high, extensive, and persistent levels of atmospheric petroleum hydrocarbon exposure with strong health implications to on-site workers and to coastal residents from wind advection.

  1. Natural and unnatural oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico

    PubMed Central

    Garcia‐Pineda, O.; Beet, A.; Daneshgar Asl, S.; Feng, L.; Graettinger, G.; French‐McCay, D.; Holmes, J.; Hu, C.; Huffer, F.; Leifer, I.; Muller‐Karger, F.; Solow, A.; Silva, M.; Swayze, G.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract When wind speeds are 2–10 m s−1, reflective contrasts in the ocean surface make oil slicks visible to synthetic aperture radar (SAR) under all sky conditions. Neural network analysis of satellite SAR images quantified the magnitude and distribution of surface oil in the Gulf of Mexico from persistent, natural seeps and from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) discharge. This analysis identified 914 natural oil seep zones across the entire Gulf of Mexico in pre‐2010 data. Their ∼0.1 µm slicks covered an aggregated average of 775 km2. Assuming an average volume of 77.5 m3 over an 8–24 h lifespan per oil slick, the floating oil indicates a surface flux of 2.5–9.4 × 104 m3 yr−1. Oil from natural slicks was regionally concentrated: 68%, 25%, 7%, and <1% of the total was observed in the NW, SW, NE, and SE Gulf, respectively. This reflects differences in basin history and hydrocarbon generation. SAR images from 2010 showed that the 87 day DWH discharge produced a surface‐oil footprint fundamentally different from background seepage, with an average ocean area of 11,200 km2 (SD 5028) and a volume of 22,600 m3 (SD 5411). Peak magnitudes of oil were detected during equivalent, ∼14 day intervals around 23 May and 18 June, when wind speeds remained <5 m s−1. Over this interval, aggregated volume of floating oil decreased by 21%; area covered increased by 49% (p < 0.1), potentially altering its ecological impact. The most likely causes were increased applications of dispersant and surface burning operations. PMID:27774370

  2. Natural and unnatural oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    MacDonald, Ian R.; O. Garcia-Pineda,; A. Beet,; S. Daneshgar Asl,; L. Feng,; D. G. Graettinger,; D. French-McCay,; J. Holmes,; C. Hu,; F. Huffer,; I. Leifer,; F. Mueller-Karger,; A. Solow,; M. Silva,; Swayze, Gregg A.

    2015-01-01

    When wind speeds are 2 – 10 m s−1, reflective contrasts in the ocean surface make oil slicks visible to synthetic aperture radar (SAR) under all sky conditions. Neural network analysis of satellite SAR images quantified the magnitude and distribution of surface oil in the Gulf of Mexico from persistent, natural seeps and from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) discharge. This analysis identified 914 natural oil seep zones across the entire Gulf of Mexico in pre-2010 data. Their ∼0.1 µm slicks covered an aggregated average of 775 km2. Assuming an average volume of 77.5 m3over an 8 – 24 h lifespan per oil slick, the floating oil indicates a surface flux of 2.5 – 9.4 × 104 m3 y−1. Oil from natural slicks was regionally concentrated: 68%, 25%, 7%, and <1% of the total was observed in the NW, SW, NE and SE Gulf, respectively. This reflects differences in basin history and hydrocarbon generation. SAR images from 2010 showed that the 87-day DWH discharge produced a surface-oil footprint fundamentally different from background seepage, with an average ocean area of 11,200 km2 (SD 5,028) and a volume of 22,600 m3 (SD 5,411). Peak magnitudes of oil were detected during equivalent, ∼14-day intervals around 23 May and 18 June, when wind speeds remained <5 m s−1. Over this interval, aggregated volume of floating oil decreased by 21%; area covered increased by 49% (p < .1), potentially altering its ecological impact. The most likely causes were increased applications of dispersant and surface burning operations.

  3. Natural and unnatural oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacDonald, I. R.; Garcia-Pineda, O.; Beet, A.; Daneshgar Asl, S.; Feng, L.; Graettinger, G.; French-McCay, D.; Holmes, J.; Hu, C.; Huffer, F.; Leifer, I.; Muller-Karger, F.; Solow, A.; Silva, M.; Swayze, G.

    2015-12-01

    When wind speeds are 2-10 m s-1, reflective contrasts in the ocean surface make oil slicks visible to synthetic aperture radar (SAR) under all sky conditions. Neural network analysis of satellite SAR images quantified the magnitude and distribution of surface oil in the Gulf of Mexico from persistent, natural seeps and from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) discharge. This analysis identified 914 natural oil seep zones across the entire Gulf of Mexico in pre-2010 data. Their ˜0.1 µm slicks covered an aggregated average of 775 km2. Assuming an average volume of 77.5 m3 over an 8-24 h lifespan per oil slick, the floating oil indicates a surface flux of 2.5-9.4 × 104 m3 yr-1. Oil from natural slicks was regionally concentrated: 68%, 25%, 7%, and <1% of the total was observed in the NW, SW, NE, and SE Gulf, respectively. This reflects differences in basin history and hydrocarbon generation. SAR images from 2010 showed that the 87 day DWH discharge produced a surface-oil footprint fundamentally different from background seepage, with an average ocean area of 11,200 km2 (SD 5028) and a volume of 22,600 m3 (SD 5411). Peak magnitudes of oil were detected during equivalent, ˜14 day intervals around 23 May and 18 June, when wind speeds remained <5 m s-1. Over this interval, aggregated volume of floating oil decreased by 21%; area covered increased by 49% (p < 0.1), potentially altering its ecological impact. The most likely causes were increased applications of dispersant and surface burning operations.

  4. Natural and unnatural oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    MacDonald, I R; Garcia-Pineda, O; Beet, A; Daneshgar Asl, S; Feng, L; Graettinger, G; French-McCay, D; Holmes, J; Hu, C; Huffer, F; Leifer, I; Muller-Karger, F; Solow, A; Silva, M; Swayze, G

    2015-12-01

    When wind speeds are 2-10 m s(-1), reflective contrasts in the ocean surface make oil slicks visible to synthetic aperture radar (SAR) under all sky conditions. Neural network analysis of satellite SAR images quantified the magnitude and distribution of surface oil in the Gulf of Mexico from persistent, natural seeps and from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) discharge. This analysis identified 914 natural oil seep zones across the entire Gulf of Mexico in pre-2010 data. Their ∼0.1 µm slicks covered an aggregated average of 775 km(2). Assuming an average volume of 77.5 m(3) over an 8-24 h lifespan per oil slick, the floating oil indicates a surface flux of 2.5-9.4 × 10(4) m(3) yr(-1). Oil from natural slicks was regionally concentrated: 68%, 25%, 7%, and <1% of the total was observed in the NW, SW, NE, and SE Gulf, respectively. This reflects differences in basin history and hydrocarbon generation. SAR images from 2010 showed that the 87 day DWH discharge produced a surface-oil footprint fundamentally different from background seepage, with an average ocean area of 11,200 km(2) (SD 5028) and a volume of 22,600 m(3) (SD 5411). Peak magnitudes of oil were detected during equivalent, ∼14 day intervals around 23 May and 18 June, when wind speeds remained <5 m s(-1). Over this interval, aggregated volume of floating oil decreased by 21%; area covered increased by 49% (p < 0.1), potentially altering its ecological impact. The most likely causes were increased applications of dispersant and surface burning operations.

  5. Metagenomic analysis of microbial consortium from natural crude oil that seeps into the marine ecosystem offshore Southern California

    SciTech Connect

    Hawley, Erik R.; Piao, Hailan; Scott, Nicole M.; Malfatti, Stephanie; Pagani, Ioanna; Huntemann, Marcel; Chen, Amy; del Rio, Tijana G.; Foster, Brian; Copeland, A.; Jansson, Janet K.; Pati, Amrita; Gilbert, Jack A.; Tringe, Susannah G.; Lorenson, Thomas D.; Hess, Matthias

    2014-01-02

    Crude oils can be major contaminants of the marine ecosystem and microorganisms play a significant role in the degradation of the main constituents of crude oil. To increase our understanding of the microbial hydrocarbon degradation process in the marine ecosystem, we collected crude oil from an active seep area located in the Santa Barbara Channel (SBC) and generated a total of about 52 Gb of raw metagenomic sequence data. The assembled data comprised ~500 Mb, representing ~1.1 million genes derived primarily from chemolithoautotrophic bacteria. Members of Oceanospirillales, a bacterial order belonging to the Deltaproteobacteria, recruited less than 2% of the assembled genes within the SBC metagenome. In contrast, the microbial community associated with the oil plume that developed in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout in 2010, was dominated by Oceanospirillales, which comprised more than 60% of the metagenomic data generated from the DWH oil plume. This suggests that Oceanospirillales might play a less significant role in the microbially mediated hydrocarbon conversion within the SBC seep oil compared to the DWH plume oil. We hypothesize that this difference results from the SBC oil seep being mostly anaerobic, while the DWH oil plume is aerobic. Within the Archaea, the phylum Euryarchaeota, recruited more than 95% of the assembled archaeal sequences from the SBC oil seep metagenome, with more than 50% of the sequences assigned to members of the orders Methanomicrobiales and Methanosarcinales. These orders contain organisms capable of anaerobic methanogenesis and methane oxidation (AOM) and we hypothesize that these orders and their metabolic capabilities may be fundamental to the ecology of the SBC oil seep.

  6. Metagenomic analysis of microbial consortium from natural crude oil that seeps into the marine ecosystem offshore Southern California.

    PubMed

    Hawley, Erik R; Piao, Hailan; Scott, Nicole M; Malfatti, Stephanie; Pagani, Ioanna; Huntemann, Marcel; Chen, Amy; Glavina Del Rio, Tijana; Foster, Brian; Copeland, Alex; Jansson, Janet; Pati, Amrita; Tringe, Susannah; Gilbert, Jack A; Lorenson, Thomas D; Hess, Matthias

    2014-06-15

    Crude oils can be major contaminants of the marine ecosystem and microorganisms play a significant role in the degradation of its main constituents. To increase our understanding of the microbial hydrocarbon degradation process in the marine ecosystem, we collected crude oil from an active seep area located in the Santa Barbara Channel (SBC) and generated a total of about 52 Gb of raw metagenomic sequence data. The assembled data comprised ~500 Mb, representing ~1.1 million genes derived primarily from chemolithoautotrophic bacteria. Members of Oceanospirillales, a bacterial order belonging to the Deltaproteobacteria, recruited less than 2% of the assembled genes within the SBC metagenome. In contrast, the microbial community associated with the oil plume that developed in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout in 2010, was dominated by Oceanospirillales, which comprised more than 60% of the metagenomic data generated from the DWH oil plume. This suggests that Oceanospirillales might play a less significant role in the microbially mediated hydrocarbon conversion within the SBC seep oil compared to the DWH plume oil. We hypothesize that this difference results from the SBC oil seep being mostly anaerobic, while the DWH oil plume is aerobic. Within the Archaea, the phylum Euryarchaeota, recruited more than 95% of the assembled archaeal sequences from the SBC oil seep metagenome, with more than 50% of the sequences assigned to members of the orders Methanomicrobiales and Methanosarcinales. These orders contain organisms capable of anaerobic methanogenesis and methane oxidation (AOM) and we hypothesize that these orders - and their metabolic capabilities - may be fundamental to the ecology of the SBC oil seep.

  7. Feeder pipes - Expression of the uppermost plumbing system in Oligocene methane-seep deposits, Washington State, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zwicker, Jennifer; Smrzka, Daniel; Gier, Susanne; Goedert, James; Peckmann, Jörn

    2015-04-01

    Plumbing systems of methane seeps are complex pathways along which hydrocarbon-rich fluids migrate upward through the marine sedimentary column. Seeps commonly maintain fluid flow over long periods of time, providing a steady supply of methane to shallow sediments and the water column. At greater sediment depths, fluid transport is facilitated by faults and conduits, which enable migration of fluids sourced from deep hydrocarbon reservoirs. In the shallow subsurface, plumbing systems may become successively filled by authigenic carbonates, whose precipitation is partly triggered by sulfate-dependent anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM). To expand our knowledge on the uppermost plumbing network of ancient seeps, this work investigates fluid conduits that were mineralized by a distinct succession of authigenic mineral phases. These mineralized conduits, which occur below an Oligocene seep deposit from the Lincoln Creek Formation in Washington State, are referred to as feeder pipes here. The concentrically-zoned feeder pipes are 2 to 3 cm in diameter. The mineral phase that formed first is matrix micrite, making up the outer part of pipes. Toward the center, pipes are filled by clear, banded and botryoidal aragonite cement, which is intercalated with yellow aragonite cement. The innermost portions of the pipes are filled by either pipe-filling micrite, microspar, or brownish calcite. The observed paragenetic sequences archive successions of various biogeochemical processes. Clear and yellow aragonite cements are distinctly depleted in 13C, revealing that their formation was favored by AOM. In contrast, later phases including brownish calcite and microspar are enriched in 13C, pointing to precipitation from fluids affected by methanogenesis. Their size and morphology indicate that the pipes were initially produced by seep-dwelling, burrowing organisms. The burrows subsequently acted as preferred fluid pathways. Possible producers of the burrows include various bivalves

  8. Metagenomic analysis of microbial consortium from natural crude oil that seeps into the marine ecosystem offshore Southern California

    PubMed Central

    Hawley, Erik R.; Piao, Hailan; Scott, Nicole M.; Malfatti, Stephanie; Pagani, Ioanna; Huntemann, Marcel; Chen, Amy; Glavina del Rio, Tijana; Foster, Brian; Copeland, Alex; Jansson, Janet; Pati, Amrita; Tringe, Susannah; Gilbert, Jack A.; Lorenson, Thomas D.; Hess, Matthias

    2014-01-01

    Crude oils can be major contaminants of the marine ecosystem and microorganisms play a significant role in the degradation of its main constituents. To increase our understanding of the microbial hydrocarbon degradation process in the marine ecosystem, we collected crude oil from an active seep area located in the Santa Barbara Channel (SBC) and generated a total of about 52 Gb of raw metagenomic sequence data. The assembled data comprised ~500 Mb, representing ~1.1 million genes derived primarily from chemolithoautotrophic bacteria. Members of Oceanospirillales, a bacterial order belonging to the Deltaproteobacteria, recruited less than 2% of the assembled genes within the SBC metagenome. In contrast, the microbial community associated with the oil plume that developed in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout in 2010, was dominated by Oceanospirillales, which comprised more than 60% of the metagenomic data generated from the DWH oil plume. This suggests that Oceanospirillales might play a less significant role in the microbially mediated hydrocarbon conversion within the SBC seep oil compared to the DWH plume oil. We hypothesize that this difference results from the SBC oil seep being mostly anaerobic, while the DWH oil plume is aerobic. Within the Archaea, the phylum Euryarchaeota, recruited more than 95% of the assembled archaeal sequences from the SBC oil seep metagenome, with more than 50% of the sequences assigned to members of the orders Methanomicrobiales and Methanosarcinales. These orders contain organisms capable of anaerobic methanogenesis and methane oxidation (AOM) and we hypothesize that these orders – and their metabolic capabilities – may be fundamental to the ecology of the SBC oil seep. PMID:25197496

  9. High-throughput transcriptome sequencing of the cold seep mussel Bathymodiolus platifrons.

    PubMed

    Wong, Yue Him; Sun, Jin; He, Li Sheng; Chen, Lian Guo; Qiu, Jian-Wen; Qian, Pei-Yuan

    2015-11-23

    Bathymodiolid mussels dominate hydrothermal vents, cold methane/sulfide-hydrocarbon seeps, and other sites of organic enrichment. Here, we aimed to explore the innate immune system and detoxification mechanism of the deep sea mussel Bathymodiolus platifrons collected from a methane seep in the South China Sea. We sequenced the transcriptome of the mussels' gill, foot and mantle tissues and generated a transcriptomic database containing 96,683 transcript sequences. Based on GO and KEGG annotations, we reported transcripts that were related to the innate immune system, heavy metal detoxification and sulfide metabolic genes. Our in-depth analysis on the isoforms of peptidoglycan recognition protein (PGRP) that have different cellular location and potentially differential selectivity towards peptidoglycan (PGN) from gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria were differentially expressed in different tissues. We also reported a potentially novel form of metallothionein and the production of phytochelatin in B. platifrons, which has not been reported in any of its coastal relative Mytilus mussel species. Overall, the present study provided new insights into heavy metal and sulfide metabolism in B. platifrons and can be served as the basis for future molecular studies on host-symbiont interactions in cold seep mussels.

  10. High-throughput transcriptome sequencing of the cold seep mussel Bathymodiolus platifrons

    PubMed Central

    Wong, Yue Him; Sun, Jin; He, Li Sheng; Chen, Lian Guo; Qiu, Jian-Wen; Qian, Pei-Yuan

    2015-01-01

    Bathymodiolid mussels dominate hydrothermal vents, cold methane/sulfide-hydrocarbon seeps, and other sites of organic enrichment. Here, we aimed to explore the innate immune system and detoxification mechanism of the deep sea mussel Bathymodiolus platifrons collected from a methane seep in the South China Sea. We sequenced the transcriptome of the mussels’ gill, foot and mantle tissues and generated a transcriptomic database containing 96,683 transcript sequences. Based on GO and KEGG annotations, we reported transcripts that were related to the innate immune system, heavy metal detoxification and sulfide metabolic genes. Our in-depth analysis on the isoforms of peptidoglycan recognition protein (PGRP) that have different cellular location and potentially differential selectivity towards peptidoglycan (PGN) from gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria were differentially expressed in different tissues. We also reported a potentially novel form of metallothionein and the production of phytochelatin in B. platifrons, which has not been reported in any of its coastal relative Mytilus mussel species. Overall, the present study provided new insights into heavy metal and sulfide metabolism in B. platifrons and can be served as the basis for future molecular studies on host-symbiont interactions in cold seep mussels. PMID:26593439

  11. Brine induced low-Magnesium calcite formation at cold seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feng, Dong; Roberts, Harry; Joye, Samantha; Heydari, Ezat

    2013-04-01

    Low-Mg calcite (LMC; < 5 mol% Mg), commonly observed during time intervals of "calcite seas," since the beginning of the Paleozoic Era, is a good indicator of low Mg/Ca ratio (< 2) in seawater. Calcite seas were coincident with times of active seawater-basalt interactions along mid-ocean ridges at high temperatures, which extract Mg from seawater and release Ca to it. In the modern aragonite sea, most carbonate minerals precipitate at the seafloor, including deposits from cold seep environments are primarily either aragonite or high-Mg calcite (HMC). Here, we report the finding of non-skeletal LMC from cold seeps in Alaminos Canyon block 601 (AC 601), 2200 m below the sea surface on northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) continental slope. Low-Mg calcite usually represents the only carbonate mineral in the studied samples. Dominant allochems in these seep carbonates are peloids, grain aggregates, pelagic forams, and fragments of mollusks and echinoids. The limestone is heavily cemented. The observed cements include micrite, microspar, mosaic, bladed, fan, and needle cements. The dissolution of grains and cements was observed. Not only originally aragonitic mollusks shells, but also carbonate cement have been dissolved. The aerobic oxidation of reduced chemical species such as methane and H2S is responsible for an increase in pCO2 and a decrease of pH, leading to local carbonate dissolution. The occurrence of oxic conditions is confirmed by the presence of negative Ce anomalies of the carbonates. Further, we report on analyses showing that the ambient porewater Mg/Ca ratio actually governs the carbonate mineralogy. The occurrence of LMC may be attributed to the brine fluids, which is relatively Mg-depleted (Mg/Ca mole ratio is below 0.7) compared to pore fluid of the subsurface sediments from the reference site (Mg/Ca mole ratio is above 4.1) that usually produce HMC. The 87Sr/86Sr values of LMC (mean = 0.708001, sd = 0.000034, n=2) are significantly lower than that of the

  12. A paradox resolved: sulfide acquisition by roots of seep tubeworms sustains net chemoautotrophy.

    PubMed

    Freytag, J K; Girguis, P R; Bergquist, D C; Andras, J P; Childress, J J; Fisher, C R

    2001-11-06

    Vestimentiferan tubeworms, symbiotic with sulfur-oxidizing chemoautotrophic bacteria, dominate many cold-seep sites in the Gulf of Mexico. The most abundant vestimentiferan species at these sites, Lamellibrachia cf. luymesi, grows quite slowly to lengths exceeding 2 meters and lives in excess of 170-250 years. L. cf. luymesi can grow a posterior extension of its tube and tissue, termed a "root," down into sulfidic sediments below its point of original attachment. This extension can be longer than the anterior portion of the animal. Here we show, using methods optimized for detection of hydrogen sulfide down to 0.1 microM in seawater, that hydrogen sulfide was never detected around the plumes of large cold-seep vestimentiferans and rarely detectable only around the bases of mature aggregations. Respiration experiments, which exposed the root portions of L. cf. luymesi to sulfide concentrations between 51-561 microM, demonstrate that L. cf. luymesi use their roots as a respiratory surface to acquire sulfide at an average rate of 4.1 micromol x g(-1) x h(-1). Net dissolved inorganic carbon uptake across the plume of the tubeworms was shown to occur in response to exposure of the posterior (root) portion of the worms to sulfide, demonstrating that sulfide acquisition by roots of the seep vestimentiferan L. cf. luymesi can be sufficient to fuel net autotrophic total dissolved inorganic carbon uptake.

  13. Landsat detection of oil from natural seeps

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Deutsch, M.; Estes, J.E.

    1980-01-01

    Oil on the ocean surface from the natural seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel, California, could not be detected on frames of any of the four bands of standard Landsat positive or negative film transparencies, nor could the slicks be detected using digital scaling, density slicing, or ratioing techniques. Digital contrast-stretch enhancement, however, showed the distribution of oil on the surface. - from Authors

  14. Characterization of coal-derived hydrocarbons and source-rock potential of coal beds, San Juan Basin, New Mexico and Colorado, U.S.A.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rice, D.D.; Clayton, J.L.; Pawlewicz, M.J.

    1989-01-01

    Coal beds are considered to be a major source of nonassociated gas in the Rocky Mountain basins of the United States. In the San Juan basin of northwestern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado, significant quantities of natural gas are being produced from coal beds of the Upper Cretaceous Fruitland Formation and from adjacent sandstone reservoirs. Analysis of gas samples from the various gas-producing intervals provided a means of determining their origin and of evaluating coal beds as source rocks. The rank of coal beds in the Fruitland Formation in the central part of the San Juan basin, where major gas production occurs, increases to the northeast and ranges from high-volatile B bituminous coal to medium-volatile bituminous coal (Rm values range from 0.70 to 1.45%). On the basis of chemical, isotopic and coal-rank data, the gases are interpreted to be thermogenic. Gases from the coal beds show little isotopic variation (??13C1 values range -43.6 to -40.5 ppt), are chemically dry (C1/C1-5 values are > 0.99), and contain significant amounts of CO2 (as much as 6%). These gases are interpreted to have resulted from devolatilization of the humic-type bituminous coal that is composed mainly of vitrinite. The primary products of this process are CH4, CO2 and H2O. The coal-generated, methane-rich gas is usually contained in the coal beds of the Fruitland Formation, and has not been expelled and has not migrated into the adjacent sandstone reservoirs. In addition, the coal-bed reservoirs produce a distinctive bicarbonate-type connate water and have higher reservoir pressures than adjacent sandstones. The combination of these factors indicates that coal beds are a closed reservoir system created by the gases, waters, and associated pressures in the micropore coal structure. In contrast, gases produced from overlying sandstones in the Fruitland Formation and underlying Pictured Cliffs Sandstone have a wider range of isotopic values (??13C1 values range from -43.5 to -38

  15. Natural and Unnatural Oil Layers on the Surface of the Gulf of Mexico Detected and Quantified in Synthetic Aperture RADAR Images with Texture Classifying Neural Network Algorithms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacDonald, I. R.; Garcia-Pineda, O. G.; Morey, S. L.; Huffer, F.

    2011-12-01

    Effervescent hydrocarbons rise naturally from hydrocarbon seeps in the Gulf of Mexico and reach the ocean surface. This oil forms thin (~0.1 μm) layers that enhance specular reflectivity and have been widely used to quantify the abundance and distribution of natural seeps using synthetic aperture radar (SAR). An analogous process occurred at a vastly greater scale for oil and gas discharged from BP's Macondo well blowout. SAR data allow direct comparison of the areas of the ocean surface covered by oil from natural sources and the discharge. We used a texture classifying neural network algorithm to quantify the areas of naturally occurring oil-covered water in 176 SAR image collections from the Gulf of Mexico obtained between May 1997 and November 2007, prior to the blowout. Separately we also analyzed 36 SAR images collections obtained between 26 April and 30 July, 2010 while the discharged oil was visible in the Gulf of Mexico. For the naturally occurring oil, we removed pollution events and transient oceanographic effects by including only the reflectance anomalies that that recurred in the same locality over multiple images. We measured the area of oil layers in a grid of 10x10 km cells covering the entire Gulf of Mexico. Floating oil layers were observed in only a fraction of the total Gulf area amounting to 1.22x10^5 km^2. In a bootstrap sample of 2000 replications, the combined average area of these layers was 7.80x10^2 km^2 (sd 86.03). For a regional comparison, we divided the Gulf of Mexico into four quadrates along 90° W longitude, and 25° N latitude. The NE quadrate, where the BP discharge occurred, received on average 7.0% of the total natural seepage in the Gulf of Mexico (5.24 x10^2 km^2, sd 21.99); the NW quadrate received on average 68.0% of this total (5.30 x10^2 km^2, sd 69.67). The BP blowout occurred in the NE quadrate of the Gulf of Mexico; discharged oil that reached the surface drifted over a large area north of 25° N. Performing a

  16. Trace Elemental Geochemistry of Pacific Margin Seep and Non-seep Benthic Foraminifera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burkett, A. M.; Rathburn, A. E.; De Deckker, P.; Perez, M. E.

    2015-12-01

    As part of a continued effort to evaluate factors that influence carbonate biogeochemistry of living foraminifera, stable isotopic and trace elemental analyses of epibenthic and infaunal species of benthic foraminifera collected from the Pacific margin revealed clues for assessment of the presence, history and origin of cold and hydrothermal methane seepage sites. Hydrothermal seeps have only recently been discovered, prioritizing their recognition and assessments of the origins/sources of these anomalously warm environments. Trace elements were analyzed with a laser ablation ICP-MS at the Australian National University, avoiding contamination and allowing measurements of recently generated chambers. Living Cibicidoides wuellerstorfi and Uvigerina peregrina collected from active methane seeps on the east Pacific margin (Costa Rica, Alaska and Hydrate Ridge) have a wider range in both stable isotopic signals and some trace elemental values (e.g., Mg/Ca) compared to nearby inactive areas. Comparisons of additional trace elemental values (e.g., Li/Ca, Cd/Ca, B/Ca, and Ba/Ca) from living Cibicidoides wuellerstorfi and Uvigerina peregrina from these unique seafloor environments provide additional information in the geochemical influences of cold and hydrothermal seepage on foraminiferal calcite geochemistry. Seep environments are often the result of complex tectonic processes, have implications in past rapid climatic shifts and in future climate change predictions and models, and can influence modern ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles in ways which are not fully understood. Benthic foraminiferal geochemistry provides a potential means to identify seep fluid origins, elucidate seep fluid records and recognize hydrothermal seeps and their spatial and temporal history.

  17. Anaerobic methane oxidation in low-organic content methane seep sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pohlman, John W.; Riedel, Michael; Bauer, James E.; Canuel, Elizabeth A.; Paull, Charles K.; Lapham, Laura; Grabowski, Kenneth S.; Coffin, Richard B.; Spence, George D.

    2013-05-01

    Sulfate-dependent anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) is the key sedimentary microbial process limiting methane emissions from marine sediments and methane seeps. In this study, we investigate how the presence of low-organic content sediment influences the capacity and efficiency of AOM at Bullseye vent, a gas hydrate-bearing cold seep offshore of Vancouver Island, Canada. The upper 8 m of sediment contains <0.4 wt.% total organic carbon (OC) and primarily consists of glacially-derived material that was deposited 14,900-15,900 yrs BP during the retreat of the late Quaternary Cordilleran Ice Sheet. We hypothesize this aged and exceptionally low-OC content sedimentary OM is biologically refractory, thereby limiting degradation of non-methane OM by sulfate reduction and maximizing methane consumption by sulfate-dependent AOM. A radiocarbon-based dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) isotope mass balance model demonstrates that respired DIC in sediment pore fluids is derived from a fossil carbon source that is devoid of 14C. A fossil origin for the DIC precludes remineralization of non-fossil OM present within the sulfate zone as a significant contributor to pore water DIC, suggesting that nearly all sulfate is available for anaerobic oxidation of fossil seep methane. Methane flux from the SMT to the sediment water interface in a diffusion-dominated flux region of Bullseye vent was, on average, 96% less than at an OM-rich seep in the Gulf of Mexico with a similar methane flux regime. Evidence for enhanced methane oxidation capacity within OM-poor sediments has implications for assessing how climate-sensitive reservoirs of sedimentary methane (e.g., gas hydrate) will respond to ocean warming, particularly along glacially-influenced mid and high latitude continental margins.

  18. Sidescan backscatter variations of cold seeps on the Hikurangi Margin (New Zealand): indications for different stages in seep development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dumke, Ines; Klaucke, Ingo; Berndt, Christian; Bialas, Jörg

    2014-06-01

    Cold seeps on the Hikurangi Margin off New Zealand exhibit various seabed morphologies producing different intensity patterns in sidescan backscatter images. Acoustic backscatter characteristics of 25 investigated seep sites fall into four distinct types characterised by variations in backscatter intensity, distribution and inferred structural heights. The types reflect different carbonate morphologies including up to 20-m-high structures (type 1), low-relief crusts (type 2), scattered blocks (type 3) and carbonate-free sites (type 4). Each seep corresponds to a single type; intermediates were not observed. This correlates well with published data on seep fauna at each site, with the four types representing three different faunal habitats of successive stages of seep development. Backscatter signatures in sidescan sonar images of cold seeps may therefore serve as a convenient proxy for variations in faunal habitats.

  19. Mutagenicity and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons associated with extractable organic matter from airborne particles ⩽10 μm in southwest Mexico City

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Villalobos-Pietrini, Rafael; Amador-Muñoz, Omar; Waliszewski, Stefan; Hernández-Mena, Leonel; Munive-Colín, Zenaida; Gómez-Arroyo, Sandra; Bravo-Cabrera, José Luis; Frías-Villegas, Alejandro

    A year-long sampling and analysis of 24 h airborne particles equal to or less than 10 μm (PM 10) was conducted in Southwest (SW) Mexico City in 1998. The amount of airborne PM 10 and its extractable organic matter (EOM) were highly correlated. The year 1998 was particularly dry with many fires, and higher values of PM 10 and EOM were obtained in the fire period (February-May) compared to the without fire period (January, June-December). The indirect-acting mutagenicity ( Salmonella typhimurium strain TA98 with mammalian metabolic activation, S9) did not correlate with the monthly concentrations of PM 10 and EOM, while the direct-acting mutagenicity (strains TA98 and YG1021, without mammalian metabolic activation) did correlate. The highest monthly mutagenic potency of TA98+S9 and of TA98-S9 were registered in May which correspond to the fire period, while for YG1021 the highest was in December, a without fire month. The highest TA98+S9/TA98-S9 ratios appeared from April to September (with the exception of June), indicating that emission of the direct mutagens occurred in the rest of the year (the coldest months), and December showed the highest mutagenicity of YG1021. The correlation of this mutagenicity with the number of ground-based inversions indicated a greater emissions of nitroarenes in the coldest months emitted mainly by vehicular traffic as shown by the correlation between YG1021 with CO and with NO 2. We did not find a correlation in the EOM of the complex mixtures between TA98+S9 and the total concentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) nor between TA98+S9 and specific PAH. The analysis by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry indicated the presence of retene, a PAH found in the fire period and considered a softwood burning marker. The concentrations of fluoranthene and benz[ a]anthracene correlated with that of retene and with the burned area; they were the only PAH that presented significant differences between the periods with fire and

  20. Temporal variation of nitro-polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in PM10 and PM2.5 collected in Northern Mexico City.

    PubMed

    Valle-Hernández, B L; Mugica-Alvarez, V; Salinas-Talavera, E; Amador-Muñoz, O; Murillo-Tovar, M A; Villalobos-Pietrini, R; De Vizcaya-Ruíz, A

    2010-10-15

    With the aim to determine the presence of individual nitro-PAH contained in particles in the atmosphere of Mexico City, a monitoring campaign for particulate matter (PM(10) and PM(2.5)) was carried out in Northern Mexico City, from April 2006 to February 2007. The PM(10) annual median concentration was 65.2μgm(-3) associated to 7.6μgm(-3) of solvent-extractable organic matter (SEOM) corresponding to 11.4% of the PM(10) concentration and 38.6μgm(-3) with 5.9μgm(-3) SEOM corresponding to 15.2% for PM(2.5). PM concentration and SEOM varied with the season and the particle size. The quantification of nitro-polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (nitro-PAH) was developed through the standards addition method under two schemes: reference standard with and without matrix, the former giving the best results. The recovery percentages varied with the extraction method within the 52 to 97% range depending on each nitro-PAH. The determination of the latter was effected with and without sample purification, also termed fractioning, giving similar results. 8 nitro-PAH were quantified, and their sum ranged from 111 to 819pgm(-3) for PM(10) and from 58 to 383pgm(-3) for PM(2.5), depending on the season. The greatest concentration was for 9-Nitroanthracene in PM(10) and PM(2.5), detected during the cold-dry season, with a median (10th-90th percentiles) concentration in 235pgm(-3) (66-449pgm(-3)) for PM(10) and 73pgm(-3) (18-117pgm(-3)) for PM(2.5). The correlation among mass concentrations of the nitro-PAH and criteria pollutants was statistically significant for some nitro-PAH with PM(10), SEOM in PM(10), SEOM in PM(2.5), NO(X), NO(2) and CO, suggesting either sources, primary or secondary origin. The measured concentrations of nitro-PAH were higher than those reported in other countries, but lower than those from Chinese cities. Knowledge of nitro-PAH atmospheric concentrations can aid during the surveillance of diseases (cardiovascular and cancer risk) associated with these

  1. Serum adipocyte-fatty acid binding protein (FABP4) levels in women from Mexico exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

    PubMed

    Ochoa-Martínez, Ángeles C; Ruíz-Vera, Tania; Pruneda-Álvarez, Lucia G; González-Palomo, Ana K; Almendarez-Reyna, Claudia I; Pérez-Vázquez, Francisco J; Pérez-Maldonado, Iván N

    2017-01-01

    Recent studies indicate that exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is a very important risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Correspondingly, adipocyte-fatty acid binding protein (FABP4, also known as aP2 and AFABP) has been proposed as a new, meaningful and useful biomarker to predict metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate serum FABP4 levels in Mexican women exposed to PAHs. Urinary 1-hydroxypyrene ((1-OHP), exposure biomarker for PAHs) levels were quantified using a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) technique, and serum FABP4 concentrations were analyzed using a commercially available ELISA kit. The mean urinary 1-OHP level found in women participating in this study was 1.30 ± 1.10 μmol/mol creatinine (2.45 ± 2.10 μg/g creatinine). Regarding serum FABP4 concentrations, the levels ranged from 3.80 to 62.5 ng/mL in the assessed population. Moreover, a significant association (p < 0.001) was found between urinary 1-OHP levels and serum FABP4 concentrations in women after adjusting for potential confounding variables. The presented data in this study can be considered only as a starting point for further studies. Then, in order to elucidate whether FABP4 represents a risk factor for CVD disease in humans exposed to air contaminants (such as PAHs), large epidemiological studies are necessary.

  2. Relationship between Overpressure and the Formation of Hydrocarbon-Rich Solitary Waves during Sedimentary Basin Diagenesis: A Case Study of the Eugene Island 330 Field in the Gulf of Mexico Basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joshi, A.; Appold, M. S.; Nunn, J. A.

    2011-12-01

    Hydrocarbons in shallow (< 1 km depth) Pleistocene sand reservoirs of the Eugene Island 330 field in the northern Gulf of Mexico basin are thought to have originated from Early Tertiary source sediments at depths of about 4.5 km. Despite the low permeability of the intervening sediments, hydrocarbons appear to have moved rapidly through these sediments, most likely as discrete pressure pulses (solitary waves) along the Red growth fault system. The purpose of the present research was to evaluate the mechanics of solitary wave formation and movement during sedimentation, diagenesis, and source rock maturation in the Eugene Island hydrocarbon field. A detailed two-dimensional model coupling sedimentation, compaction, hydrocarbon generation, heat transport, and multi-phase fluid flow predicted overpressures of 50 MPa by 0.5 Ma in the hydrocarbon source sediments, with about 93% of the overpressure caused by compaction disequilibrium and the remainder by hydrocarbon generation. Movement along the Red growth fault was rapid enough to cause a pressure decrease of several MPa from the upthrown block to the downthrown block, consistent with field observations. The average pressure generation rate at the base of the Red fault during the period of hydrocarbon formation was predicted to be 9.6x10-7 Pa/s. However, for the most likely values of fault permeability, basal heat flow, and organic carbon content of the source rocks, too little hydrocarbon was able to migrate along the Red fault by conventional Darcian flow and accumulate in the Pleistocene reservoirs relative to field observations. Only when the permeability of the shale-bounded portions of the Red fault was increased by an order of magnitude, the basal heat flow was increased from 60 to 70 mW/m2, and the organic carbon content of the source rocks was increased from 5% to 10% was hydrocarbon transport by conventional Darcian flow through the Red fault great enough to accumulate in the reservoirs in amounts

  3. Cruise summary for P-1-02-SC: acoustic imaging of natural oil and gas seeps and measurement of dissolved methane concentration in coastal waters near Pt. Conception, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lorenson, T.D.; Dougherty, Jennifer A.; Ussler, William; Paull, Charles K.

    2003-01-01

    Water-column acoustic anomalies and methane concentrations were documented in coastal waters surrounding Pt. Conception, California, in March 2002. The purpose of this survey, supported by the Minerals Management Service, was to locate active oil and gas seeps in the area as a background for further studies to determine hydrocarbon flux, mainly oil, into the environment. Objectives in reaching this goal are to (1) document the locations and geochemically fingerprint natural seeps within the offshore southern Santa Maria Basin; (2) geochemically fingerprint coastal tar residues and potential sources, both onshore and offshore, in this region; (3) establish chemical correlations between offshore active seeps and coastal residues thus linking seep sources to oil residues; (4) measure the rate of natural seepage of individual seeps and attempt to assess regional natural oil and gas seepage rates; (5) attempt to predict transport pathways of oil from seep sources to the coastline and; (6) interpret the petroleum system history for the natural seeps. This survey, addressing objective 1, focused on the area from offshore Surf Beach to the north and Gaviota to the south in water depths ranging from 20 to 500m. In addition, nine stations were sampled outside this area to provide a regional context. Water-column methane concentrations were measured in water samples collected from the R/V Point Sur with Niskin bottles from various depths. A total of 724 water samples from 94 stations were collected.

  4. Fluid geochemistry of cold seeps and hydrothermal vents in the Guaymas Basin, Gulf of California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hensen, Christian; Geilert, Sonja; Scholz, Florian; Schmidt, Mark; Liebetrau, Volker; Kipfer, Rolf; Sarkar, Sudipta; Doll, Mechthild

    2017-04-01

    In this study, we present geochemical data from pore fluids and gases that were sampled at cold seeps and hydrothermal vents in the Guaymas Basin during Sonne cruise 241. The Guaymas Basin is a unique environment where magma intrudes into thick sequences of organic-rich sediments, thereby maturing host rocks and releasing large amounts of hydrocarbons. Geochemical measurements performed on samples from a recently discovered high-temperature vent field (Berndt et al., 2016) clearly support this paradigm. 3He/4He ratios agree with that of excess He from the southern part of the Guaymas Basin (Lupton, 1979) and suggest the same general MORB source, while isotopic data of hydrocarbon gases largely indicate a thermogenic, sedimentary source. Heat flow measurements performed in the vicinity of the smoker site are extremely high, exceeding 10 W/m2, indicating that hydrocarbon gas production (mainly CH4) is related to contact heating due to magmatic activity near the hydrothermal vents. Cold seeps are located up to some tens of kilometres off the rift axis and are typically characterized by chemosynthetic fauna assemblages at the seafloor. The occurrence of the seeps has also been related to sill intrusions. Seismic records typically show evidence for sediment mobilization in the deeper subsurface and blanked zones due to gas accumulations directly beneath the seeps. Despite these visual and geophysical indications for deep-sourced heat-driven fluid flow, pore water data are not indicative for geochemical reactions taking place at elevated temperatures. Major dissolved constituents do not show strong deviations from seawater and dissolved methane is typically of biogenic origin. In addition, heat flow values do not deviate from regional averages, and hence, these findings contradict the existing hypothesis of a sill-driven mechanism responsible for the formation of seafloor seepage sites. A preliminary interpretation is that fluid and gas mobilisation from sill activity

  5. Carbon, oxygen and strontium isotopic constraints on fluid sources, temperatures and biogeochemical processes during the formation of seep carbonates - Secchia River site, Northern Apennines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viola, Irene; Capozzi, Rossella; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Rickli, Jörg

    2017-07-01

    Understanding authigenic seep carbonate formation provides clues for hydrocarbon exploration and insights into contributions to gas budgets of marine environments and the atmosphere. Seep carbonates discovered in the outcropping succession along the Secchia riverbanks (near Modena, Italy) belong to the Argille Azzurre Formation of Early Pleistocene age deposited in an upper shelf environment overlying the Miocene foredeep successions, which include hydrocarbon fields. The fluid migration from the hydrocarbon fields, up to the surface, is presently active on land and started in the marine succession during the Late Miocene. Authigenic globular carbonate concretions and carbonate chimneys are interspersed along the strata throughout the section. A comprehensive geochemical characterisation of the carbonates has been carried out to understand the processes leading to their formation. The carbonate concretions are the record of past hydrocarbon vents linked to the Miocene petroleum system of the Northern Apennines. The samples are composed of > 50% microcrystalline dolomite. The δ13C signatures identify two groups in the samples according to different type of formation processes. Globular concretions have positive values that suggest an influence of CO2 associated to secondary methanogenesis due to microbial degradation of higher hydrocarbons. The analysed chimney, with negative δ13C values, is interpreted as former conduit where carbonate precipitation is promoted by Anaerobic Oxidation of Methane coupled with Sulfate Reduction. The δ18O range, coupled with 87/86Sr signatures, indicate that the contribution of deep connate water from the Miocene reservoirs is up to 23% during the formation of the globular concretions. The connate water occurrence is also documented by higher ambient temperatures. The different isotope signatures in seep carbonates result from the relative contribution of the recognised gas and water components, linked to different plumbing systems

  6. Insights into the activity, formation and origin of seep systems on the seafloor in the SW Barents Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mangelsdorf, Kai; Nickel, Julia C.; di Primio, Rolando; Kallmeyer, Jens; Horsfield, Brian; Stoddart, Daniel; Brunstad, Harald

    2014-05-01

    The southwestern Loppa High region, being part of the Barents Sea located in the north of Norway, is a promising area for oil and gas exploration since hydrocarbon discoveries have been made in this area in recent time. Additionally, surface features for hydrocarbon seepage, so called "cold seeps" have been detected on the seafloor, comprising extensive pockmark fields, carbonate crusts bearing areas and fault related gas flares. Leaking hydrocarbons are of specific interest since they are potential indicators for hydrocarbon reservoirs in the subsurface and the emitting hydrocarbons such as the greenhouse gas methane can have significant impact on the evolution of global warming when reaching the atmosphere. In this study cold seep systems like huge pockmark areas and carbonate crust sites from the SW Loppa High region were examined in detail, in order to determine the activity, formation and spatial distribution of the different seepage structures as well as the origin and timing of the seeping hydrocarbon fluids. The sample material comprising sediment cores from pockmarks, reference sites and carbonate crust areas as well as carbonate crust samples have been analyzed applying a combined biogeochemical and microbiological approach. In the carbonate crust area diagnostic biomarkers for the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) were detected in the sediments as well as in the corresponding carbonate crusts. Their depth profiles show a distinct interval of higher concentrations, which points towards a shallow AOM zone in the investigated core. The biomarkers were also characterized by very negative carbon isotope signatures, indicating the involvement of the source microorganisms in the process of AOM. These data and active gas bubbling during sampling indicate the presence of methane at the carbonate crust site. In contrast in the pockmark areas active release of gas from the sediment could not be observed, neither in the gas measurement nor in the biogeochemical

  7. Interannual Variability and Trends of C2-C11 Non-Methane Hydrocarbons in a Subtropical Area close to the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rappenglück, Bernhard

    2016-04-01

    Speciated C2-C11 non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) have been measured online on an hourly basis at Lake Jackson/TX close to the Gulf of Mexico. Altogether 48 NMHCs, including the GAW NMHC compounds, along with NO, NO2, NOx, O3 have been collected continuously from January 2004-December 2013 under the auspices of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Data was screened for background conditions representing marine wind sectors. The data set represents a combination of marine air masses mixed with local biogenic emissions. The data analysis addresses photochemical processing of air masses as reflected in the relationship of ln(n-butane/ethane) vs. ln(propane/ethane) and ln(i-butane/ethane) vs. ln(n-butane/ethane). In addition, key NMHC relationships for radical chemistry, e.g. i-butane vs n-butane for OH and Cl chemistry and i-pentane vs. n-pentane for NO3 chemistry, are discussed. Seasonal analysis revealed a clear trend with maximum NMHC mixing ratios in winter time and lowest mixing ratios in summer reflecting the impact of photochemical processes in summer. Propene equivalents were highest during summertime, with significant contributions from alkenes, including isoprene. The relation of propane/ethane vs ethane indicates seasonal variation with lowest values (i.e. most aged air masses) in winter. Contrary to usual GAW NMHC sampling procedures, which at least requires routine daytime samples (e.g. for canister samplings), continuous NMHC data collection allows to analyze nighttime data, which is least impacted by photochemical processes and potentially well-suited for trend analysis. Corresponding trend analysis for the Lake Jackson data suggests an overall slight decrease of selected NMHCs over the 2004-2013 period.

  8. Hydrocarbon potential, sequence stratigraphy, and petrographic analysis of the Ferry Lake Anhydrite, Eastern Gulf of Mexico, Southern Mississippi province

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amadi, Faith O.

    to good source rocks. Vitrinite reflectance data and normalized oil content suggest that the rocks are themselves a source, although, some hydrocarbons may have migrated into the system. X-ray diffraction and petrography results suggest the presence of gypsum at the depth of 13,320 ft (4,060 m). Estimating porosity values using neutron log in deep carbonate reservoirs that contain evaporite nodules could have significant porosity and water saturation measurement errors, due to possible occurrence of gypsum and as such should be evaluated mineralogically whenever possible.

  9. Importance of Chemolithoautotrophic Production to Mobile Benthic Predators in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morgan, E.; Macavoy, S.; Carney, R.

    2005-05-01

    The continental slope of the Gulf of Mexico is characterized by substantial hydrocarbon seepage which provides reduced energy sources, both CH4 and H2S, for chemolithoautotrophs existing as endosymbionts within mussels and tubeworms found in dense colonies that provide habitat for an array of endemic and colonial fauna. The extent of trophic export of chemosynthetic biomass to the seep communities and the surrounding benthic communities in the Gulf, however, remains an open question. To elucidate the nutritional associations between seep residents and the surrounding benthos the carbon, nitrogen and sulfur stable isotope values of the hagfish Eptatretus sp., the giant isopod Bathynomus giganteus and the predatory snail Phymorhyncus sp. were interpreted through a three source, dual isotope mixing model. The model was able to assess the contributions of different isotopic signals to a mixture and thus could distinguish between photosynthetic/phytodetritus based sources, methanotrophic sources and thiotrophic sources. Incorporation of chemosynthetic based food sources was minimal on the whole and species specific; however some of the organisms considered in this study did incorporate nutrition from chemolithoautotrophic sources.

  10. Methane Seep Carbonates Host Distinct, Diverse, and Dynamic Microbial Assemblages.

    PubMed

    Case, David H; Pasulka, Alexis L; Marlow, Jeffrey J; Grupe, Benjamin M; Levin, Lisa A; Orphan, Victoria J

    2015-12-22

    Marine methane seeps are globally distributed geologic features in which reduced fluids, including methane, are advected upward from the subsurface. As a result of alkalinity generation during sulfate-coupled methane oxidation, authigenic carbonates form slabs, nodules, and extensive pavements. These carbonates shape the landscape within methane seeps, persist long after methane flux is diminished, and in some cases are incorporated into the geologic record. In this study, microbial assemblages from 134 native and experimental samples across 5,500 km, representing a range of habitat substrates (carbonate nodules and slabs, sediment, bottom water, and wood) and seepage conditions (active and low activity), were analyzed to address two fundamental questions of seep microbial ecology: (i) whether carbonates host distinct microbial assemblages and (ii) how sensitive microbial assemblages are to habitat substrate type and temporal shifts in methane seepage flux. Through massively parallel 16S rRNA gene sequencing and statistical analysis, native carbonates are shown to be reservoirs of distinct and highly diverse seep microbial assemblages. Unique coupled transplantation and colonization experiments on the seafloor demonstrated that carbonate-associated microbial assemblages are resilient to seep quiescence and reactive to seep activation over 13 months. Various rates of response to simulated seep quiescence and activation are observed among similar phylogenies (e.g., Chloroflexi operational taxonomic units) and similar metabolisms (e.g., putative S oxidizers), demonstrating the wide range of microbial sensitivity to changes in seepage flux. These results imply that carbonates do not passively record a time-integrated history of seep microorganisms but rather host distinct, diverse, and dynamic microbial assemblages. Since their discovery in 1984, the global distribution and importance of marine methane seeps have become increasingly clear. Much of our understanding of

  11. Global dispersion and local diversification of the methane seep microbiome.

    PubMed

    Ruff, S Emil; Biddle, Jennifer F; Teske, Andreas P; Knittel, Katrin; Boetius, Antje; Ramette, Alban

    2015-03-31

    Methane seeps are widespread seafloor ecosystems shaped by the emission of gas from seabed reservoirs. The microorganisms inhabiting methane seeps transform the chemical energy in methane to products that sustain rich benthic communities around the gas leaks. Despite the biogeochemical relevance of microbial methane removal at seeps, the global diversity and dispersion of seep microbiota remain unknown. Here we determined the microbial diversity and community structure of 23 globally distributed methane seeps and compared these to the microbial communities of 54 other seafloor ecosystems, including sulfate-methane transition zones, hydrothermal vents, coastal sediments, and deep-sea surface and subsurface sediments. We found that methane seep communities show moderate levels of microbial richness compared with other seafloor ecosystems and harbor distinct bacterial and archaeal taxa with cosmopolitan distribution and key biogeochemical functions. The high relative sequence abundance of ANME (anaerobic methanotrophic archaea), as well as aerobic Methylococcales, sulfate-reducing Desulfobacterales, and sulfide-oxidizing Thiotrichales, matches the most favorable microbial metabolisms at methane seeps in terms of substrate supply and distinguishes the seep microbiome from other seafloor microbiomes. The key functional taxa varied in relative sequence abundance between different seeps due to the environmental factors, sediment depth and seafloor temperature. The degree of endemism of the methane seep microbiome suggests a high local diversification in these heterogeneous but long-lived ecosystems. Our results indicate that the seep microbiome is structured according to metacommunity processes and that few cosmopolitan microbial taxa mediate the bulk of methane oxidation, with global relevance to methane emission in the ocean.

  12. Global dispersion and local diversification of the methane seep microbiome

    PubMed Central

    Ruff, S. Emil; Biddle, Jennifer F.; Teske, Andreas P.; Knittel, Katrin; Boetius, Antje

    2015-01-01

    Methane seeps are widespread seafloor ecosystems shaped by the emission of gas from seabed reservoirs. The microorganisms inhabiting methane seeps transform the chemical energy in methane to products that sustain rich benthic communities around the gas leaks. Despite the biogeochemical relevance of microbial methane removal at seeps, the global diversity and dispersion of seep microbiota remain unknown. Here we determined the microbial diversity and community structure of 23 globally distributed methane seeps and compared these to the microbial communities of 54 other seafloor ecosystems, including sulfate–methane transition zones, hydrothermal vents, coastal sediments, and deep-sea surface and subsurface sediments. We found that methane seep communities show moderate levels of microbial richness compared with other seafloor ecosystems and harbor distinct bacterial and archaeal taxa with cosmopolitan distribution and key biogeochemical functions. The high relative sequence abundance of ANME (anaerobic methanotrophic archaea), as well as aerobic Methylococcales, sulfate-reducing Desulfobacterales, and sulfide-oxidizing Thiotrichales, matches the most favorable microbial metabolisms at methane seeps in terms of substrate supply and distinguishes the seep microbiome from other seafloor microbiomes. The key functional taxa varied in relative sequence abundance between different seeps due to the environmental factors, sediment depth and seafloor temperature. The degree of endemism of the methane seep microbiome suggests a high local diversification in these heterogeneous but long-lived ecosystems. Our results indicate that the seep microbiome is structured according to metacommunity processes and that few cosmopolitan microbial taxa mediate the bulk of methane oxidation, with global relevance to methane emission in the ocean. PMID:25775520

  13. Petroleum-influenced beach sediments of the Campeche Bank, Mexico: diversity and bacterial community structure assessment.

    PubMed

    Rosano-Hernández, María C; Ramírez-Saad, Hugo; Fernández-Linares, Luis

    2012-03-01

    The bacterial diversity and community structure were surveyed in intertidal petroleum-influenced sediments of ≈ 100 km of a beach, in the southern Gulf of Mexico. The beach was divided in twenty sampling sites according to high, moderate and low petroleum influence. Densities of cultured heterotrophic (HAB) and hydrocarbon degrading bacteria (HDB) were highly variable in sediments, with little morphological assortment in colonies. PCR-RISA banding patterns differentiated distinct communities along the beach, and the bacterial diversity changed inversely to the degree of petroleum hydrocarbon influence: the higher TPH concentration, the lower genotype diversity. Seven DNA sequences (Genbank EF191394 -EF191396 and EF191398 -EF191401) were affiliated to uncultured members of Gemmatimonas, Acidobacterium, Desulfobacteraceae, Rubrobacterales, Actinobacterium and the Fibrobacteres/Acidobacteria group; all the above taxa are known for having members with active roles in biogeochemical transformations. The remaining sequences (EF191388 - EF191393 and EF191397) affiliated to Pseudoalteromonas, and to oil-degrading genera such as Pseudomonas, Vibrio and Marinobacter, being the last one an obligate oil-degrading bacterium. An exchange of bacteria between the beach and the oil seep environment, and the potential cleaning-up role of bacteria at the southern Gulf of Mexico are discussed.

  14. Abyssal seep site cementation: west Florida escarpment

    SciTech Connect

    Neumann, A.C.; Paull, C.K.; Commeau, R.; Commeau, J.; Chanton, J.; Martens, C.; Gardemal, M.; Trumbull, W.; Showers, W.

    1988-02-01

    The deepest submarine cements known so far occur along the 3300-m deep base of the Florida escarpment and are associated with methane-bearing brine seeps, which emanate there. These deep Holocene carbonates, which occur as surficial and buried crusts, burrow fillings, and friable horizons, were sampled via ALVIN. The carbonates form irregular halos extending up to 20 m from seeps colonized by chemosynthetic fauna. Mussels, gastropods, and clams, the carbonate components of the community, produce a shell hash that is locally cemented by coarsely crystalline low-Mg calcite. Halos of palisade calcite are reminiscent of ancient examples of marine cements. Also present are carbonate hemipelagics cemented by micrite into crusts and burrow fillings. The degree of cementation varies from pervasive to light. Slabs of cemented crust up to 30 cm thick contrast with typical shallow crusts and exhibit irregular tops and smooth bottoms indicating different chemical gradients and pathways. Bulk /delta//sup 13/C values of the carbonates are low, ranging from /minus/ 2.4 to /minus/ 48.5 /per thousand/ (PDB) and implicating as the carbonate source the biogenic methane that occurs in high concentrations at the seeps. The interaction of methane and sulfate in these cement reactions is still unclear. The presence of course mollusk-fragment hardgrounds overlying an eroded limestone and covered by hemipelagics, if encountered elsewhere, could be mistaken for a much shallower setting. The erosion of limestone scarps and the concurrent development of deep hardgrounds containing a fossil chemosynthetic fauna at the unconformity is a scenario that needs to be included in the growing list of limestone facies interpretations.

  15. Recognition of deep-water benthic assemblages in the fossil record: Taphonomy and community characteristics of Louisiana continental slope petroleum seep assemblages

    SciTech Connect

    Callender, W.R.

    1992-01-01

    Chemoautotrophic benthic assemblages associated with petroleum seepage form the only substantial shell accumulations below storm wave base on the northern Gulf of Mexico shelf and slope. Five biofacies are associated with petroleum seepage, dominated respectively by vestimentiferan tubeworms, lucinid, thyasirid and vesicomyid clams and mytilid mussels. The taphonomy of petroleum seep death assemblages includes dissolution as the most pervasive mode of shell alteration. The dominant species in each assemblage reflect the taphonomic signature of the assemblage they dominate. The taphonomic attributes of petroleum seep death assemblages are similar to those of ancient autochthonous benthic assemblages. Paleoecological characteristics representative of cold seep assemblages include: high density-low diversity molluscan assemblages dominated by large individuals, high molluscan biomass concentrations aligned in linear trends, carbons with depleted [delta][sup 13]C values associated with faunally depauperate shales, laminated or massive sedimentary structures, variable articulation frequencies, poor shell preservation, and a trophic structure dominated by one trophic group. The Campanian Tepee Buttes share many paleoecological characteristics with recognized ancient seep assemblages. Methane and hydrogen sulfide-rich fluids from underlying strata were transported along fault conduits to supply a localized nutrient source for lucinid-dominated benthic communities. The Tepee Butte assemblages were dominated by dense accumulations of Nymphalucina occidentalis with moderate to high articulation frequencies. The lucinids probably used H[sub 2]S as a nutrient source. Cold seeps can be recognized in the fossil record, based on criteria developed by the study of modern cold seep death assemblages, because the paleoecological characteristics of cold seep assemblages are very conservative.

  16. Carbon Sources to Authigenic Carbonate Rock at Chemosynthetic Communities: Lower Slope of the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sassen, R.; Jung, W.; Zhang, C.; Defreitas, D. A.

    2004-12-01

    Flux of biogenic methane, crude oil and associated hydrocarbon gases occurs from the deep subsurface to the seafloor, water column, and atmosphere of the Gulf of Mexico slope. Chemosynthetic communities occur at sites of relatively high gas flux, frequently with gas hydrate, but always with authigenic carbonate rock \\(ACR\\). ACR contains carbonate carbon derived from microbial hydrocarbon oxidation that geologically sequesters much fossil carbon, perturbing the carbon cycle. ACR was collected using the ALVIN from sites with chemosynthetic communities in Alaminos Canyon, Atwater Valley, and the Florida Escarpment areas at water depths as much as 3.3 km. Bulk δ 13C was measured and carbonate petrology used to identify carbonate cements, normal marine carbonate, and non-carbonate components such as metal oxides and sulfides. ACR is depleted in 13C. However, the δ 13C of major hydrocarbon types is typically more depleted in 13C than the associated ACR. For example, the mean δ 13C of biogenic methane seeps in the Gulf slope is -74.0\\permil PDB but the lightest bulk ACR measured in the study area is -46.6\\permil PDB. Carbonate cements from hydrocarbon oxidation are shown to enclose skeletal remains of chemosynthetic fauna such as mussels, clams, as well as other fauna characterized by normal marine carbonate \\(\\sim 0\\permil PDB\\). The best explanation of why the δ 13C of ACR does not closely correspond to that of the hydrocarbon starting products is that normal marine carbon dilutes the δ 13C from hydrocarbon oxidation and thus affects the bulk isotopic properties of ACR.

  17. Employing extant stable carbon isotope data in Gulf of Mexico sedimentary organic matter for oil spill studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosenheim, Brad E.; Pendergraft, Matthew A.; Flowers, George C.; Carney, Robert; Sericano, José L.; Amer, Reda M.; Chanton, Jeff; Dincer, Zeynep; Wade, Terry L.

    2016-07-01

    We have compiled and mapped available carbon isotope data from sedimentary organic material sampled from the Gulf of Mexico prior to 2010. These data provide a baseline to which any changes in the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill can be compared. The mean (±1σ) δ13C values, relative to PDB, are -21.4±1.9‰ (entire Gulf of Mexico), -21.7±1.2‰ (shelf sediments), -20.4±1.6‰ (deepwater sediments), and -25.2±4.1‰ (seep-affected sediments). We compare pre-spill mean δ13C values to carbon isotope measurements of sedimentary organic material from coretop samples collected after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The differences between the mean compiled δ13C values and the post-spill δ13C values are corroborated by qualitative relationships with the concentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a proxy for oil contamination, in the sediment. The relationships between δ13C of the sedimentary organic material and PAH concentrations allow estimation of background levels of PAHs on the shelf and in the deep Gulf of Mexico. Higher background levels of PAH on the shelf likely relate to Mississippi River outflow and its deposition of petrogenic PAH in riverine sediments.

  18. Anaerobic Oxidation of Methane at a Marine Methane Seep in a Forearc Sediment Basin off Sumatra, Indian Ocean.

    PubMed

    Siegert, Michael; Krüger, Martin; Teichert, Barbara; Wiedicke, Michael; Schippers, Axel

    2011-01-01

    A cold methane seep was discovered in a forearc sediment basin off the island Sumatra, exhibiting a methane-seep adapted microbial community. A defined seep center of activity, like in mud volcanoes, was not discovered. The seep area was rather characterized by a patchy distribution of active spots. The relevance of anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) was reflected by (13)C-depleted isotopic signatures of dissolved inorganic carbon. The anaerobic conversion of methane to CO(2) was confirmed in a (13)C-labeling experiment. Methane fueled a vital microbial community with cell numbers of up to 4 × 10(9) cells cm(-3) sediment. The microbial community was analyzed by total cell counting, catalyzed reporter deposition-fluorescence in situ hybridization (CARD-FISH), quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). CARD-FISH cell counts and qPCR measurements showed the presence of Bacteria and Archaea, but only small numbers of Eukarya. The archaeal community comprised largely members of ANME-1 and ANME-2. Furthermore, members of the Crenarchaeota were frequently detected in the DGGE analysis. Three major bacterial phylogenetic groups (δ-Proteobacteria, candidate division OP9, and Anaerolineaceae) were abundant across the study area. Several of these sequences were closely related to the genus Desulfococcus of the family Desulfobacteraceae, which is in good agreement with previously described AOM sites. In conclusion, the majority of the microbial community at the seep consisted of AOM-related microorganisms, while the relevance of higher hydrocarbons as microbial substrates was negligible.

  19. Anaerobic Oxidation of Methane at a Marine Methane Seep in a Forearc Sediment Basin off Sumatra, Indian Ocean

    PubMed Central

    Siegert, Michael; Krüger, Martin; Teichert, Barbara; Wiedicke, Michael; Schippers, Axel

    2011-01-01

    A cold methane seep was discovered in a forearc sediment basin off the island Sumatra, exhibiting a methane-seep adapted microbial community. A defined seep center of activity, like in mud volcanoes, was not discovered. The seep area was rather characterized by a patchy distribution of active spots. The relevance of anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) was reflected by 13C-depleted isotopic signatures of dissolved inorganic carbon. The anaerobic conversion of methane to CO2 was confirmed in a 13C-labeling experiment. Methane fueled a vital microbial community with cell numbers of up to 4 × 109 cells cm−3 sediment. The microbial community was analyzed by total cell counting, catalyzed reporter deposition–fluorescence in situ hybridization (CARD–FISH), quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). CARD–FISH cell counts and qPCR measurements showed the presence of Bacteria and Archaea, but only small numbers of Eukarya. The archaeal community comprised largely members of ANME-1 and ANME-2. Furthermore, members of the Crenarchaeota were frequently detected in the DGGE analysis. Three major bacterial phylogenetic groups (δ-Proteobacteria, candidate division OP9, and Anaerolineaceae) were abundant across the study area. Several of these sequences were closely related to the genus Desulfococcus of the family Desulfobacteraceae, which is in good agreement with previously described AOM sites. In conclusion, the majority of the microbial community at the seep consisted of AOM-related microorganisms, while the relevance of higher hydrocarbons as microbial substrates was negligible. PMID:22207865

  20. Cenozoic Methane-Seep Faunas of the Caribbean Region.

    PubMed

    Kiel, Steffen; Hansen, Bent T

    2015-01-01

    We report new examples of Cenozoic cold-seep communities from Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad, and Venezuela, and attempt to improve the stratigraphic dating of Cenozoic Caribbean seep communities using strontium isotope stratigraphy. Two seep faunas are distinguished in Barbados: the late Eocene mudstone-hosted 'Joes River fauna' consists mainly of large lucinid bivalves and tall abyssochrysoid gastropods, and the early Miocene carbonate-hosted 'Bath Cliffs fauna' containing the vesicomyid Pleurophopsis, the mytilid Bathymodiolus and small gastropods. Two new Oligocene seep communities from the Sinú River basin in Colombia consist of lucinid bivalves including Elongatolucina, thyasirid and solemyid bivalves, and Pleurophopsis. A new early Miocene seep community from Cuba includes Pleurophopsis and the large lucinid Meganodontia. Strontium isotope stratigraphy suggests an Eocene age for the Cuban Elmira asphalt mine seep community, making it the oldest in the Caribbean region. A new basal Pliocene seep fauna from the Dominican Republic is characterized by the large lucinid Anodontia (Pegophysema). In Trinidad we distinguish two types of seep faunas: the mudstone-hosted Godineau River fauna consisting mainly of lucinid bivalves, and the limestone-hosted Freeman's Bay fauna consisting chiefly of Pleurophopsis, Bathymodiolus, and small gastropods; they are all dated as late Miocene. Four new seep communities of Oligocene to Miocene age are reported from Venezuela. They consist mainly of large globular lucinid bivalves including Meganodontia, and moderately sized vesicomyid bivalves. After the late Miocene many large and typical 'Cenozoic' lucinid genera disappeared from the Caribbean seeps and are today known only from the central Indo-Pacific Ocean. We speculate that the increasingly oligotrophic conditions in the Caribbean Sea after the closure of the Isthmus of Panama in the Pliocene may have been unfavorable for such large lucinids because they

  1. Cenozoic Methane-Seep Faunas of the Caribbean Region

    PubMed Central

    Kiel, Steffen; Hansen, Bent T.

    2015-01-01

    We report new examples of Cenozoic cold-seep communities from Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad, and Venezuela, and attempt to improve the stratigraphic dating of Cenozoic Caribbean seep communities using strontium isotope stratigraphy. Two seep faunas are distinguished in Barbados: the late Eocene mudstone-hosted ‘Joes River fauna’ consists mainly of large lucinid bivalves and tall abyssochrysoid gastropods, and the early Miocene carbonate-hosted ‘Bath Cliffs fauna’ containing the vesicomyid Pleurophopsis, the mytilid Bathymodiolus and small gastropods. Two new Oligocene seep communities from the Sinú River basin in Colombia consist of lucinid bivalves including Elongatolucina, thyasirid and solemyid bivalves, and Pleurophopsis. A new early Miocene seep community from Cuba includes Pleurophopsis and the large lucinid Meganodontia. Strontium isotope stratigraphy suggests an Eocene age for the Cuban Elmira asphalt mine seep community, making it the oldest in the Caribbean region. A new basal Pliocene seep fauna from the Dominican Republic is characterized by the large lucinid Anodontia (Pegophysema). In Trinidad we distinguish two types of seep faunas: the mudstone-hosted Godineau River fauna consisting mainly of lucinid bivalves, and the limestone-hosted Freeman’s Bay fauna consisting chiefly of Pleurophopsis, Bathymodiolus, and small gastropods; they are all dated as late Miocene. Four new seep communities of Oligocene to Miocene age are reported from Venezuela. They consist mainly of large globular lucinid bivalves including Meganodontia, and moderately sized vesicomyid bivalves. After the late Miocene many large and typical ‘Cenozoic’ lucinid genera disappeared from the Caribbean seeps and are today known only from the central Indo-Pacific Ocean. We speculate that the increasingly oligotrophic conditions in the Caribbean Sea after the closure of the Isthmus of Panama in the Pliocene may have been unfavorable for such large lucinids

  2. Diverse sulfate-reducing bacteria of the Desulfosarcina/Desulfococcus clade are the key alkane degraders at marine seeps

    PubMed Central

    Kleindienst, Sara; Herbst, Florian-Alexander; Stagars, Marion; von Netzer, Frederick; von Bergen, Martin; Seifert, Jana; Peplies, Jörg; Amann, Rudolf; Musat, Florin; Lueders, Tillmann; Knittel, Katrin

    2014-01-01

    Biogeochemical and microbiological data indicate that the anaerobic oxidation of non-methane hydrocarbons by sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) has an important role in carbon and sulfur cycling at marine seeps. Yet, little is known about the bacterial hydrocarbon degraders active in situ. Here, we provide the link between previous biogeochemical measurements and the cultivation of degraders by direct identification of SRB responsible for butane and dodecane degradation in complex on-site microbiota. Two contrasting seep sediments from Mediterranean Amon mud volcano and Guaymas Basin (Gulf of California) were incubated with 13C-labeled butane or dodecane under sulfate-reducing conditions and analyzed via complementary stable isotope probing (SIP) techniques. Using DNA- and rRNA-SIP, we identified four specialized clades of alkane oxidizers within Desulfobacteraceae to be distinctively active in oxidation of short- and long-chain alkanes. All clades belong to the Desulfosarcina/Desulfococcus (DSS) clade, substantiating the crucial role of these bacteria in anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation at marine seeps. The identification of key enzymes of anaerobic alkane degradation, subsequent β-oxidation and the reverse Wood–Ljungdahl pathway for complete substrate oxidation by protein-SIP further corroborated the importance of the DSS clade and indicated that biochemical pathways, analog to those discovered in the laboratory, are of great relevance for natural settings. The high diversity within identified subclades together with their capability to initiate alkane degradation and growth within days to weeks after substrate amendment suggest an overlooked potential of marine benthic microbiota to react to natural changes in seepage, as well as to massive hydrocarbon input, for example, as encountered during anthropogenic oil spills. PMID:24722631

  3. Diverse sulfate-reducing bacteria of the Desulfosarcina/Desulfococcus clade are the key alkane degraders at marine seeps.

    PubMed

    Kleindienst, Sara; Herbst, Florian-Alexander; Stagars, Marion; von Netzer, Frederick; von Bergen, Martin; Seifert, Jana; Peplies, Jörg; Amann, Rudolf; Musat, Florin; Lueders, Tillmann; Knittel, Katrin

    2014-10-01

    Biogeochemical and microbiological data indicate that the anaerobic oxidation of non-methane hydrocarbons by sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) has an important role in carbon and sulfur cycling at marine seeps. Yet, little is known about the bacterial hydrocarbon degraders active in situ. Here, we provide the link between previous biogeochemical measurements and the cultivation of degraders by direct identification of SRB responsible for butane and dodecane degradation in complex on-site microbiota. Two contrasting seep sediments from Mediterranean Amon mud volcano and Guaymas Basin (Gulf of California) were incubated with (13)C-labeled butane or dodecane under sulfate-reducing conditions and analyzed via complementary stable isotope probing (SIP) techniques. Using DNA- and rRNA-SIP, we identified four specialized clades of alkane oxidizers within Desulfobacteraceae to be distinctively active in oxidation of short- and long-chain alkanes. All clades belong to the Desulfosarcina/Desulfococcus (DSS) clade, substantiating the crucial role of these bacteria in anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation at marine seeps. The identification of key enzymes of anaerobic alkane degradation, subsequent β-oxidation and the reverse Wood-Ljungdahl pathway for complete substrate oxidation by protein-SIP further corroborated the importance of the DSS clade and indicated that biochemical pathways, analog to those discovered in the laboratory, are of great relevance for natural settings. The high diversity within identified subclades together with their capability to initiate alkane degradation and growth within days to weeks after substrate amendment suggest an overlooked potential of marine benthic microbiota to react to natural changes in seepage, as well as to massive hydrocarbon input, for example, as encountered during anthropogenic oil spills.

  4. Tracking California seafloor seeps with bathymetry, backscatter and ROVs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Orange, Daniel L.; Yun, Janet; Maher, Norman; Barry, James; Greene, Gary

    2002-11-01

    The California (USA) margin includes two different tectonic regimes: subduction north of the Mendocino Triple Junction and translation south. Both margins include seeps, and their distribution can be inferred using seafloor bathymetry and backscatter as well as subsurface seismic data. Anomalous bathymetric and backscatter features related to fluid expulsion include headless submarine canyons, fault zones, anticlines, pockmarks, and mud volcanoes. Anomalous backscatter may be caused by authigenic carbonate (related to the bacterial oxidation of methane) or cold seep clams—both have an impedance and roughness that may be higher than the surrounding seafloor. Remote-operated vehicle (ROV) dives to such suspect seep sites document the presence of extensive authigenic carbonate, areally restricted cold seep communities, carpets of chemoautotrophic bacteria, and bubbling gas. Our operations in the Monterey Bay, on the translational California margin, and the Eel River basin, on the convergent margin, indicate that bathymetric and backscatter maps of the seafloor, if sufficiently high resolution, can be used to map seep sites, and that the distribution of such seeps can be used to constrain subsurface conduits of fluid flow. ROVs, due to their combination of visualization, propulsion, manipulation, sonar, and navigation, provide an excellent platform for ground-truthing, mapping, and sampling seafloor seeps.

  5. Pockmarks: self-scouring seep features?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brothers, Laura L.; Kelley, Joseph T.; Belknap, Daniel F.; Barnhardt, Walter A.; Koons, Peter O.

    2011-01-01

    Pockmarks, or seafloor craters, occur worldwide in a variety of geologic settings and are often associated with fluid discharge. The mechanisms responsible for pockmark preservation, and pockmarks? relation to active methane venting are not well constrained. Simple numerical simulations run in 2-and 3-dimensions, and corroborated by flume tank experiments, indicate turbulence may play a role in pockmark maintenance, and, potentially, in pockmark excavation. Morphological analysis of the pockmarks indicates an abundance of flat-bottomed and/or elongated pockmarks. Pockmarks transition into furrows as the bay narrows and tidal flow is enhanced, providing unmistakable evidence of post-formation evolution. We hypothesize that some pockmarks formed from seafloor perturbations (e.g., gas or methane discharge), are1 maintained and gradually modified by vortical flow. This hypothesis provides a mechanism for pockmark preservation and enlargement without active fluid venting, which has implications for the interpretation of seafloor seep features in gas hydrates areas.

  6. Bubble composition of natural gas seeps discovered along the Cascadia Continental Margin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baumberger, T.; Merle, S. G.; Embley, R. W.; Seabrook, S.; Raineault, N.; Lilley, M. D.; Evans, L. J.; Walker, S. L.; Lupton, J. E.

    2016-12-01

    Gas hydrates and gas-filled pockets present in sedimentary deposits have been recognized as large reservoirs for reduced carbon in the Earth's crust. This is particularly relevant in geological settings with high carbon input, such as continental margins. During expedition NA072 on the E/V Nautilus (operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust Inc.) in June 2016, the U.S. Cascadia Continental Margin (Washington, Oregon and northern California) was explored for gas seepage from sediments. During this expedition, over 400 bubble plumes at water depths ranging from 125 and 1640 m were newly discovered, and five of them were sampled for gas bubble composition using specially designed gas tight fluid samplers mounted on the Hercules remotely operated vehicle (ROV). These gas bubble samples were collected at four different depths, 494 m (rim of Astoria Canyon), 615 and 620 m (SW Coquille Bank), 849 m (floor of Astoria Canyon) and 1227 m (Heceta SW). At the two deeper sites, exposed hydrate was present in the same area where bubbles were seeping out from the seafloor. Other than the escaping gas bubbles, no other fluid flow was visible. However, the presence of bacterial mats point to diffuse fluid flow present in the affected area. In this study we present the results of the currently ongoing geochemical analysis of the gas bubbles released at the different sites and depths. Noble gas analysis, namely helium and neon, will give information about the source of the helium as well as about potential fractionation between helium and neon associated with gas hydrates. The characterization of these gas samples will also include total gas (CO2, H2, N2, O2, Ar, CH4 and other hydrocarbons) and stable isotope analysis (C and H). This dataset will reveal the chemical composition of the seeping bubbles as well as give information about the possible sources of the carbon contained in the seeping gas.

  7. Evidence and biogeochemical implications for glacially-derived sediments in an active margin cold seep

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pohlman, John W.; Riedel, Michael; Novosel, Ivana; Bauer, James E.; Canuel, Elizabeth A.; Paull, Charles K.; Coffin, Richard B.; Grabowski, Kenneth S.; Knies, David L.; Hyndman, Roy D.; Spence, George D.

    2011-01-01

    Delineating sediment organic matter origins and sediment accumulation rates at gas hydratebearing and hydrocarbon seeps is complicated by the microbial transfer of 13C-depleted and 14Cdepleted methane carbon into sedimentary pools. Sediment 13C and 14C measurements from four cores recovered at Bullseye vent on the northern Cascadia margin are used to identify methane carbon assimilation into different carbon pools. While the total organic carbon (TOC) is mostly unaltered and primarily terrigenous in origin, planktonic foraminifera and the bulk carbonate display evidence of methane overprinting. Mass balance models are applied to determine the extent to which methane overprinting increased the radiocarbon ages of the biogenic foraminifera. The corrected and calibrated foraminifera ages between sediment depths of 70 and 573 cm are from 14.9 to 15.9 ka BP, which coincides with the retreat of the late Quaternary Cordilleran Ice Sheet from Vancouver Island. Uniform TOC _13C values of -24.5 ± 0.5‰ from the upper 8 meters of sediment at Bullseye vent suggest all cored material is Pleistocene-derived glacimarine material deposited as the ice edge retreated landward. Bullseye vent is located within an uplifted sediment block isolated from turbidite deposition and has been a site of non-deposition since the ice sheet retreated from the shelf. Biogeochemical implications of seep sediments being dominated by aged, organic-poor (<0.4 wt% TOC) material are that methane is the primary energy source, and microbes directly and indirectly associated with the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) will dominate the seep microbial community.

  8. High resolution measurements of methane and carbon dioxide in surface waters over a natural seep reveal dynamics of dissolved phase air-sea flux.

    PubMed

    Du, Mengran; Yvon-Lewis, Shari; Garcia-Tigreros, Fenix; Valentine, David L; Mendes, Stephanie D; Kessler, John D

    2014-09-02

    Marine hydrocarbon seeps are sources of methane and carbon dioxide to the ocean, and potentially to the atmosphere, though the magnitude of the fluxes and dynamics of these systems are poorly defined. To better constrain these variables in natural environments, we conducted the first high-resolution measurements of sea surface methane and carbon dioxide concentrations in the massive natural seep field near Coal Oil Point (COP), California. The corresponding high resolution fluxes were calculated, and the total dissolved phase air-sea fluxes over the surveyed plume area (∼363 km(2)) were 6.66 × 10(4) to 6.71 × 10(4) mol day(-1) with respect to CH4 and -6.01 × 10(5) to -5.99 × 10(5) mol day(-1) with respect to CO2. The mean and standard deviation of the dissolved phase air-sea fluxes of methane and carbon dioxide from the contour gridding analysis were estimated to be 0.18 ± 0.19 and -1.65 ± 1.23 mmol m(-2) day(-1), respectively. This methane flux is consistent with previous, lower-resolution estimates and was used, in part, to conservatively estimate the total area of the dissolved methane plume at 8400 km(2). The influx of carbon dioxide to the surface water refutes the hypothesis that COP seep methane appreciably influences carbon dioxide dynamics. Seeing that the COP seep field is one of the biggest natural seeps, a logical conclusion could be drawn that microbial oxidation of methane from natural seeps is of insufficient magnitude to change the resulting plume area from a sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide to a source.

  9. Methane Seep Carbonates Host Distinct, Diverse, and Dynamic Microbial Assemblages

    PubMed Central

    Pasulka, Alexis L.; Marlow, Jeffrey J.; Grupe, Benjamin M.; Levin, Lisa A.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Marine methane seeps are globally distributed geologic features in which reduced fluids, including methane, are advected upward from the subsurface. As a result of alkalinity generation during sulfate-coupled methane oxidation, authigenic carbonates form slabs, nodules, and extensive pavements. These carbonates shape the landscape within methane seeps, persist long after methane flux is diminished, and in some cases are incorporated into the geologic record. In this study, microbial assemblages from 134 native and experimental samples across 5,500 km, representing a range of habitat substrates (carbonate nodules and slabs, sediment, bottom water, and wood) and seepage conditions (active and low activity), were analyzed to address two fundamental questions of seep microbial ecology: (i) whether carbonates host distinct microbial assemblages and (ii) how sensitive microbial assemblages are to habitat substrate type and temporal shifts in methane seepage flux. Through massively parallel 16S rRNA gene sequencing and statistical analysis, native carbonates are shown to be reservoirs of distinct and highly diverse seep microbial assemblages. Unique coupled transplantation and colonization experiments on the seafloor demonstrated that carbonate-associated microbial assemblages are resilient to seep quiescence and reactive to seep activation over 13 months. Various rates of response to simulated seep quiescence and activation are observed among similar phylogenies (e.g., Chloroflexi operational taxonomic units) and similar metabolisms (e.g., putative S oxidizers), demonstrating the wide range of microbial sensitivity to changes in seepage flux. These results imply that carbonates do not passively record a time-integrated history of seep microorganisms but rather host distinct, diverse, and dynamic microbial assemblages. PMID:26695630

  10. Development of saline seeps in Southwestern United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, Kenneth S.; ,

    1994-01-01

    Saline seeps are an increasingly serious problem in semi-arid regions of the southwestern United States. They result when excessive recharge of the shallow ground water in soils raises the water table locally to within one meter of the land surface, and the salinity of the shallow water is increased through evaporation. In this connection, a comprehensive study is being undertaken in Oklahoma and Texas to determine the geologic setting, hydrology, soils, land use, and history of saline-seep development.

  11. Soda ash treatment of a strontium-90-contaminated groundwater seep

    SciTech Connect

    Spalding, B.P.; Munro, I.I.

    1983-01-01

    A /sup 90/Sr-contaminated groundwater seep on the perimeter of a low-level radioactive solid waste disposal area at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) was treated by burying 315 kg of soda ash in the groundwater flow path leading to the seep, and placing 45 kg of soda ash on the surface of the seep. The concentration of /sup 90/Sr in the seep water fell from an average of 7000 Bq L/sup -1/ to 900 Bq L/sup -1/ for the 90 d after burial, followed by a period of gradual rise back to pretreatment levels over the next 100 d. The electrical conductivity and pH of the seep water increased following soda ash burial, while water hardness fell. Hardness was highly correlated (r = 0.84) with /sup 90/Sr concentrations over the entire 2-year observation period, indicating the similar behavior of /sup 90/Sr and soluble Ca and Mg. This in situ softening of, and /sup 90/Sr precipitation from, the seep water was achieved by coprecipitation of /sup 90/Sr with Ca(Mg)CO/sub 3/ until the buried soda ash was depleted by dissolution in the groundwater. The soda ash treatment of groundwater seeps appears to be most practical as an interim technique for those situations requiring an immediate, but temporary, corrective action. During this limited but effective period, more permanent corrective actions could be planned at the source of contamination. The electrical conductivity, pH, and hardness of the larger surface stream, into which this seep discharges, were not affected by the soda ash burial, most likely due to the approximately 2000-fold dilution effected by this stream.

  12. Isolation of marine polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading Cycloclasticus strains from the Gulf of Mexico and comparison of their PAH degradation ability with that of Puget Sound Cycloclasticus strains

    SciTech Connect

    Geiselbrecht, A.D.; Hedlund, B.P.; Tichi, M.A.; Staley, J.T.

    1998-12-01

    Phenanthrene- and naphthalene-degrading bacteria were isolated from four offshore and nearshore locations in the Gulf of Mexico by using a modified most-probable-number technique. The concentrations of these bacteria ranged from 10{sup 2} to 10{sup 6} cells per ml of wet surficial sediment in mildly contaminated and noncontaminated sediments. A total of 23 strains of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading bacteria were obtained. Based on partial 16S ribosomal DNA sequences and Phenotypic characteristics, these 23 strains are members of the genus Cycloclasticus. Three representatives were chosen for a complete phylogenetic analysis, which confirmed the close relationship of these isolates to type strain Cycloclasticus pugetii PS-1, which was isolated from Puget Sound. PAH substrate utilization tests which included high-molecular-weight PAHs revealed that these isolates had similar, broad substrate ranges which included naphthalene, substituted naphthalenes, phenanthrene, biphenyl, anthracene, acenaphthene, and fluorene. Degradation of pyrene and fluoranthene occurred only when the strains were incubated with phenanthrene. Two distinct partial PAH dioxygenase iron sulfur protein (ISP) gene sequences were PCR amplified from Puget Sound and Gulf of Mexico Cycloclasticus strains. Phylogenetic analyses of these sequences revealed that one ISP type is related to the bph type of ISP sequences, while the other ISP type is related to the nah type of ISP sequences. The predicted ISP amino acid sequences for the Gulf of Mexico and Puget Sound strains are identical, which supports the hypothesis that these geographically separated isolates are closely related phylogentically. Cycloclasticus species appear to be numerically important and widespread PAH-degrading bacteria in both Puget Sound and the Gulf of Mexico.

  13. The Role of Seep Ecosystems in Distribution Patterns of Deep-Sea Megafauna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wagner, J.; McKelvey, Z.; Jacobson, A.; Hoerauf, E.; Van Dover, C. L.

    2015-12-01

    One of the key questions about methane seeps is the sphere of influence on the surrounding area they provide in terms of habitat structure, food sources, and geochemical environment. Understanding the distribution of megafauna relative to the seep environment is an initial step toward understanding these ecosystem properties. Systematic photo surveys using AUV Sentry were conducted at 4 methane seeps at the Blake Ridge Diapir and a seep at Cape Fear Diapir. Distributions of dominant seep features (bivalves, carbonates, bacterial mats) were used to define the active seep site. Geospatial mapping indicates that non-seep-endemic taxa (those not hosting chemoautotrophic endosymbionts) either avoid (e.g., sea urchins, certain sea cucumbers), are attracted to (e.g., squat lobsters, cake urchins) or show no distributional bias to (e.g., sea stars, certain fish) the presence of a seep. Further investigation into these faunal relationships may improve understanding of services that seeps provide to the larger ocean ecosystem.

  14. Subseafloor to Sea-Air Interface Characterization of Methane Dynamics in the northern US Atlantic Margin Seep Province

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruppel, C. D.; Kluesner, J.; Danforth, W. W.; Casso, M.; Pohlman, J.

    2015-12-01

    Since the discovery of hundreds of northern US Atlantic margin (USAM) cold seeps in 2012 and 2013, the USGS Gas Hydrates Project has undertaken intensive studies of the along-margin gas hydrate/free gas distribution, the plumbing systems sustaining seeps, seafloor gas emissions, and sea-air methane flux. Interest in the USAM is motivated both by climate change (i.e., documented ocean warming may contribute to seepage) and energy resource (i.e., the amount of gas-in-place in hydrates on the USAM is about the same as that in the northern Gulf of Mexico) issues. USGS-led field efforts have included an April 2015 study to acquire high-resolution multichannel seismic data, coincident split-beam water column methane plume imaging data, and real-time sea-air methane flux measurements between Wilmington and Norfolk Canyons and a September 2015 cruise (with OSU, UCLA, and Geomar) to collect piston cores, multicores, heat flow data, subbottom imagery, CTDs, and coincident water column imagery from Block Canyon to the Currituck Slide. In April 2015, we discovered methane seeps not included in the previously-published database, but found that some known seeps were not active. New high-resolution multi-channel seismic data revealed clear differences between the deep gas distribution in mid-Atlantic upper slope zones that are replete with (up to 240 sites) and lacking in seeps. Based on sea-air flux measurements, even shallow-water outer shelf (~125 m water depth) seeps and a 900-m-high methane plume originating on the mid-slope do not contribute methane to the atmosphere. Using thermistors placed on piston core outriggers, we will in September 2015 acquire thermal data to identify zones of high fluid advection and to constrain background geotherms in areas where heat flow has never been measured. During that same cruise, we will collect a series of piston cores across the no-hydrate/hydrate transition on the upper slope to constrain fluid and gas dynamics in this zone.

  15. Methane emission and consumption at a North Sea gas seep (Tommeliten area)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niemann, H.; Elvert, M.; Hovland, M.; Orcutt, B.; Judd, A.; Suck, I.; Gutt, J.; Joye, S.; Damm, E.; Finster, K.; Boetius, A.

    2005-11-01

    group and Sulphate Reducing Bacteria (SRB) most likely belonging to the Seep-SRB1 cluster. The zone of active methane consumption was restricted to a distinct horizon of about 20 cm. Concentrations of 13C-depleted lipid biomarkers (e.g. 500 ng g-dw-1 biphythanes, 140 ng g-dw-1 fatty acid ai-C15:0), cell numbers (1.5x108 cells cm-3), AOM and SR rates (3 nmol cm-3 d-1 in the SMTZ are 2-3 orders of magnitude lower compared to AOM zones of highly active cold seeps such as Hydrate Ridge or the Gulf of Mexico.

  16. Reconstructing Sulfur Cycling at Cretaceous Methane Seeps: Novel Perspectives from Carbonate-Associated Sulfate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hancock, L. G.; Lyons, T. W.; Gill, B. C.; Formolo, M.; Shapiro, R. S.; Tripati, A.; Loyd, S. J.; Bates, S. M.

    2013-12-01

    temporally and may be major drivers of macro- and microfaunal ecosystem dynamics on many scales. Modern seep systems, like those in the Gulf of Mexico, can be used to calibrate the proxy relative to measured rates of sulfate reduction and associated pore water profiles for transient sulfur species. CAS isotopic relationships can illuminate the relative patterns of sulfate reduction and sulfide oxidation, thus providing a crucial backdrop for interpreting thiotrophic and methanotrophic symbiosis in the macrofaunal assemblages associated with these unique settings.

  17. Origin of gasoline-range hydrocarbons and their migration by solution in carbon dioxide in Norton basin, Alaska.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kvenvolden, K.A.; Claypool, G.E.

    1980-01-01

    Carbon dioxide from a submarine seep in Norton Sound carries a minor component of gas- and gasoline-range hydrocarbons. The molecular and isotopic compositions of the hydrocarbon gases and the presence of gasoline-range hydrocarbons indicate that these molecules are derived from thermal alteration of marine and/or nonmarine organic matter buried within Norton basin. The gasoline-range hydrocarbon distribution suggests that the hydrocarbon mixture is an immature petroleum-like condensate of lower temperature origin than normal crude oil. The submarine seep provides a natural example in support of a carbon dioxide solution transport mechanism thought to be operative in the migration of hydrocarbons in certain reservoirs.-Authors

  18. Evolution of Hydrocarbon-Degrading Microbial Communities in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Well Blowout in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andersen, G.; Dubinsky, E. A.; Chakraborty, R.; Hollibaugh, J. T.; Hazen, T. C.

    2012-12-01

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill created large plumes of dispersed oil and gas that remained deep in the water column and stimulated growth of several deep-sea bacteria that can degrade hydrocarbons at cold temperatures. We tracked microbial community composition before, during and after the 83-day spill to determine relationships between microbial dynamics, and hydrocarbon and dissolved-oxygen concentrations. Dominant bacteria in plumes shifted drastically over time and were dependent on the concentration of hydrocarbons, and the relative quantities of insoluble and soluble oil fractions. Unmitigated flow from the wellhead early in the spill resulted in the highest concentrations of oil and relatively more n-alkanes suspended in the plume as small oil droplets. These conditions resulted in near complete dominance by alkane-degrading Oceanospirillales, Pseudomonas and Shewanella. Six-weeks into the spill overall hydrocarbon concentrations in the plume decreased and were almost entirely composed of BTEX after management actions reduced emissions into the water column. These conditions corresponded with the emergence of Colwellia, Pseudoalteromonas, Cycloclasticus and Halomonas that are capable of degrading aromatic compounds. After the well was contained dominant plume bacteria disappeared within two weeks after the spill and transitioned to an entirely different set of bacteria dominated by Flavobacteria, Methylophaga, Alteromonas and Rhodobacteraceae that were found in anomalous oxygen depressions throughout August and are prominent degraders of both high molecular weight organic matter as well as hydrocarbons. Bio-Sep beads amended with volatile hydrocarbons from MC-252 oil were used from August through September to create hydrocarbon-amended traps for attracting oil-degrading microbes in situ. Traps were placed at multiple depths on a drilling rig about 600-m from the original MC-252 oil spill site. Microbes were isolated on media using MC-252 oil as the sole

  19. Petroleum hydrocarbons, fluorescent aromatic compounds in fish bile and organochlorine pesticides from areas surrounding the spill of the Kab121 well, in the Southern Gulf of Mexico: a case study.

    PubMed

    Gold-Bouchot, G; Ceja-Moreno, V; Chan-Cocom, E; Zapata-Perez, O

    2014-01-01

    In October 2007, a light crude oil spill took place in the off shore Kab121 oil well, 32 km north of the mouth of the Grijalva River, Tabasco, Mexico. In order to estimate the possible effects of oil spill on the biota in the area surrounding the spilled well, the level of different fractions of petroleum hydrocarbons were measured in fish, as well as the concentration of some chlorinated hydrocarbons and PCBs. The organisms examined were cat fish (Ariopsis felis), in addition fluorescent aromatic compounds in bile, the contaminants above mentioned and their relationship with cyotochrome P-450 and Ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase, Glutathion-S-Transferase and catalase activities in liver were determined. The concentration of most pollutants were low, except PAHs. Spatial distribution of these compounds, as well as most biomarkers, reflected the highest exposure of fish to pollutants in the area adjacent to well, as well as in the proximity of rivers. The profile of exposure to this environment was chronic in nature and not temporary.

  20. Macondo oil in deep-sea sediments: Part 2 - Distribution and distinction from background and natural oil seeps.

    PubMed

    Stout, Scott A; Payne, James R; Ricker, Robert W; Baker, Gregory; Lewis, Christopher

    2016-10-15

    Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the spilled Macondo oil was severely weathered during its transport within the deep-sea plume as discrete particles, which were subsequently deposited on the seafloor. The Macondo oil deposited in deep-sea sediments was distinguished from ambient (background) hydrocarbons and naturally-seeped and genetically-similar oils in the Mississippi Canyon region using a forensic method based upon a systematic, multi-year study of 724 deep-sea sediment cores collected in late 2010 and 2011. The method relied upon: (1) chemical fingerprinting of the distinct features of the wax-rich, severely-weathered Macondo oil; (2) hydrocarbon concentrations, considering a core's proximity to the Macondo well or to known or apparent natural oil seeps, and also vertically within a core; and (3) results from proximal cores and flocculent material from core supernatants and slurp gun filters. The results presented herein establish the geographic extent of "fingerprintable" Macondo oil recognized on the seafloor in 2010/2011.

  1. Petroleum degradation and associated microbial signatures at the Chapopote asphalt volcano, Southern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schubotz, Florence; Lipp, Julius S.; Elvert, Marcus; Kasten, Sabine; Mollar, Xavier Prieto; Zabel, Matthias; Bohrmann, Gerhard; Hinrichs, Kai-Uwe

    2011-08-01

    At the Chapopote Knoll in the Southern Gulf of Mexico, deposits of asphalt provide the substrate for a prolific cold seep ecosystem extensively colonized by chemosynthetic communities. This study investigates microbial life and associated biological processes within the asphalts and surrounding oil-impregnated sediments by analysis of intact polar membrane lipids (IPLs), petroleum hydrocarbons and stable carbon isotopic compositions (δ 13C) of hydrocarbon gases. Asphalt samples are lightly to heavily biodegraded suggesting that petroleum-derived hydrocarbons serve as substrates for the chemosynthetic communities. Accordingly, detection of bacterial diester and diether phospholipids in asphalt samples containing finely dispersed gas hydrate suggests the presence of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria. Biological methanogenesis contributes a substantial fraction to the methane captured as hydrate in the shallow asphalt deposits evidenced by significant depletion in 13C relative to background thermogenic methane. In sediments, petroleum migrating from the subsurface stimulates both methanogenesis and methanotrophy at a sulfate-methane transition zone 6-7 m below the seafloor. In this zone, microbial IPLs are dominated by archaeal phosphohydroxyarchaeols and archaeal diglycosidic diethers and tetraethers. Bacterial IPLs dominate surface sediments that are impregnated by severely biodegraded oil. In the sulfate-reduction zone, diagnostic IPLs indicate that sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) play an important role in petroleum degradation. A diverse mixture of phosphohydroxyarchaeols and mixed phospho- and diglycosidic archaeal tetraethers in shallow oil-impregnated sediments point to the presence of anaerobic methane-oxidizing ANME-2 and ANME-1 archaea, respectively, or methanogens. Archaeal IPLs increase in relative abundance with increasing sediment depth and decreasing sulfate concentrations, accompanied by a shift of archaeol-based to tetraether-based archaeal IPLs. The

  2. Seep-carbonate lamination controlled by cyclic particle flux

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Himmler, Tobias; Bayon, Germain; Wangner, David; Enzmann, Frieder; Peckmann, Jörn; Bohrmann, Gerhard

    2016-11-01

    Authigenic carbonate build-ups develop at seafloor methane-seeps, where microbially mediated sulphate-dependent anaerobic oxidation of methane facilitates carbonate precipitation. Despite being valuable recorders of past methane seepage events, their role as archives of atmospheric processes has not been examined. Here we show that cyclic sedimentation pulses related to the Indian monsoon in concert with authigenic precipitation of methane-derived aragonite gave rise to a well-laminated carbonate build-up within the oxygen minimum zone off Pakistan (northern Arabian Sea). U–Th dating indicates that the build-up grew during past ~1,130 years, creating an exceptional high-resolution archive of the Indian monsoon system. Monsoon-controlled formation of seep-carbonates extends the known environmental processes recorded by seep-carbonates, revealing a new relationship between atmospheric and seafloor processes.

  3. Control of Quaternary sea-level changes on gas seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Riboulot, Vincent; Thomas, Yannick; Berné, Serge; Jouet, Gwénaël.; Cattaneo, Antonio

    2014-07-01

    Gas seeping to the seafloor through structures such as pockmarks may contribute significantly to the enrichment of atmospheric greenhouse gases and global warming. Gas seeps in the Gulf of Lions, Western Mediterranean, are cyclical, and pockmark "life" is governed both by sediment accumulation on the continental margin and Quaternary climate changes. Three-dimensional seismic data, correlated to multi-proxy analysis of a deep borehole, have shown that these pockmarks are associated with oblique chimneys. The prograding chimney geometry demonstrates the syn-sedimentary and long-lasting functioning of the gas seeps. Gas chimneys have reworked chronologically constrained stratigraphic units and have functioned episodically, with maximum activity around sea level lowstands. Therefore, we argue that one of the main driving mechanisms responsible for their formation is the variation in hydrostatic pressure driven by relative sea level changes.

  4. Natural gas seeps in the French Alps: Sources and pathways

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kloppmann, Wolfram; Blessing, Michaela; Proust, Eric; Gal, Frédéric; Bentivegna, Gaetan; Henry, Benoit; Defossez, Pierrick; Catherine, Lerouge; Humez, Pauline; Mayer, Bernhard; Millot, Romain; Gaucher, Eric

    2016-04-01

    Natural gas emanations are part of the geochemical baseline to take into account when assessing global greenhouse gas emissions and potential impacts of conventional and unconventional gas exploration and exploitation on groundwater. Examples of such natural gas macro-seeps are known in several parts of the world (Etiope et al., 2009). Only a limited number of them have been characterized for their gas and isotopic compositions. Such analyses can provide essential information for baseline studies, providing insight in the sources (biogenic vs. thermogenic or modified thermogenic) and pathways of such seeps and may allow for distinction of natural seeps from stray gas leakage associated with human activities. Here, we report gas concentrations and multi-isotope data (δ13C and δ2H of methane and ethane, δ13C and δ18O of CO2, 3He/4He ratio) of two gas seeps in the French subalpine chains, both in a similar geological and structural position within Middle Jurassic claystones along the eastern border of the large synclinal structures of the Vercors and the Chartreuse massifs (Moss, 1992). The "ardent fountain" (fontaine ardente) of Le Gua, 30 km south of Grenoble has most likely the longest continuous written record of existence of any individual natural gas seep, mentioned explicitly as early as the first quarter of the 5th century (Augustin of Hippo (St. Augustin), approx. 426) This natural seep was described in the past as a "wet seep" associated with a spring, whereas the second investigated seep, Rochasson near Meylan north of Grenoble, is a dry seep. Both seeps contain methane and ethane with thermogenic C and H isotope signatures, comparable with a seep in the Northern Swiss Alps at Giswil (Etiope et al., 2010) but with a higher dryness (C1/(C2+C3)>1000) for the Le Gua seep, possibly due to molecular fractionation upon advective fluid+gas migration (Etiope et al., 2009). Maturity (R0) of the reservoir rocks deduced from δ13C(CH4), δ13C(C2H6) is similar to

  5. Seep-carbonate lamination controlled by cyclic particle flux

    PubMed Central

    Himmler, Tobias; Bayon, Germain; Wangner, David; Enzmann, Frieder; Peckmann, Jörn; Bohrmann, Gerhard

    2016-01-01

    Authigenic carbonate build-ups develop at seafloor methane-seeps, where microbially mediated sulphate-dependent anaerobic oxidation of methane facilitates carbonate precipitation. Despite being valuable recorders of past methane seepage events, their role as archives of atmospheric processes has not been examined. Here we show that cyclic sedimentation pulses related to the Indian monsoon in concert with authigenic precipitation of methane-derived aragonite gave rise to a well-laminated carbonate build-up within the oxygen minimum zone off Pakistan (northern Arabian Sea). U–Th dating indicates that the build-up grew during past ~1,130 years, creating an exceptional high-resolution archive of the Indian monsoon system. Monsoon-controlled formation of seep-carbonates extends the known environmental processes recorded by seep-carbonates, revealing a new relationship between atmospheric and seafloor processes. PMID:27876764

  6. Seep-carbonate lamination controlled by cyclic particle flux.

    PubMed

    Himmler, Tobias; Bayon, Germain; Wangner, David; Enzmann, Frieder; Peckmann, Jörn; Bohrmann, Gerhard

    2016-11-23

    Authigenic carbonate build-ups develop at seafloor methane-seeps, where microbially mediated sulphate-dependent anaerobic oxidation of methane facilitates carbonate precipitation. Despite being valuable recorders of past methane seepage events, their role as archives of atmospheric processes has not been examined. Here we show that cyclic sedimentation pulses related to the Indian monsoon in concert with authigenic precipitation of methane-derived aragonite gave rise to a well-laminated carbonate build-up within the oxygen minimum zone off Pakistan (northern Arabian Sea). U-Th dating indicates that the build-up grew during past ~1,130 years, creating an exceptional high-resolution archive of the Indian monsoon system. Monsoon-controlled formation of seep-carbonates extends the known environmental processes recorded by seep-carbonates, revealing a new relationship between atmospheric and seafloor processes.

  7. Resistivity structure of the Del Mar methane seep.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kannberg, P. K.; Constable, S.

    2015-12-01

    In March of 2015 we mapped the resistivity structure of the Del Mar methane seep in the inner California borderlands using a deep towed electromagnetic (EM) source and receiver array. Located in the San Diego trough at a depth of 1km, the seep site is on the flank of a mound associated with a transpressive step in the San Diego trough fault. The seep site has previously been associated with seafloor pockmarks, acoustic wipeouts, chemosynthetic communities, and active methane bubble venting. Controlled source electromagnetic (CSEM) surveys are performed by deep-towing an EM source that is transmitting a known signal; this signal is detected by towed receivers. This transmitted signal is altered by the electrical properties of the surrounding environment. Compared to seismic methods, EM methods are largely insensitive to free gas, making it an especially useful tool for detecting electrically resistive methane hydrate in areas of active gas venting. We used a 50m dipole transmitting 100A, with 3-axis electric field receivers spaced at 130m, 230m, 330m, and 430m behind the transmitter dipole center. The receiver data are inverted using MARE2DEM, a finite element 2D inversion routine. The inversion results show the background resistivity of the trough sediments to be about 1-2 ohmm, and are largely featureless outside of the seep site. However at the seep site we see a decanter-shaped 100 ohmm resistor whose base is 100m below the seafloor, and 1km wide at its widest. This feature narrows at the top to form a pipe structure about 200m wide that extends to the seafloor. These resistive structures are interpreted to be methane hydrate resulting from methane rich fluid flow along faults associated with the transpressional system that brackets the seep site.

  8. Summary of the 1995 assessment of conventionally recoverable hydrocarbon resources of the Gulf of Mexico and atlantic outer continental shelf as of January 1, 1995

    SciTech Connect

    Lore, G.L.; Brooke, J.P.; Cooke, D.W.; Klazynski, R.J.; Olson, D.L.

    1996-08-01

    The principal purpose of this report is to present estimates of the total endowment of conventionally recoverable oil and gas that may be present beneath the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic continental margin. Secondary objectives are to briefly describe the geologic and mathematical methodologies employed in the assessment, present an economic analysis of the undiscovered conventionally recoverable resources of the area, and provide a historical perspective in which to review the results.

  9. Helium systematics of cold seep fluids at Monterey Bay, California, USA: Temporal variations and mantle contributions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Füri, E.; Hilton, D. R.; Brown, K. M.; Tryon, M. D.

    2009-08-01

    We report helium isotope ratios (3He/4He) as well as helium and neon abundance results for submarine cold seep fluids from Extrovert Cliff in Monterey Bay, California. Samples were collected in copper tubing attached to submarine flux meters operating in continuous pumping mode. Following instrumentation recovery, the tubing was sectioned to produce for the first time a high-resolution time series of dissolved He and Ne variations over a time span of several days. Noble gas concentrations are variable and appear affected by interaction with a hydrocarbon phase within the aquifer. However, it is still possible to resolve the He signal into components associated with air equilibration, excess air entrainment, and terrigenic fluxes (both crustal and mantle-derived). The mantle He contribution reaches ˜25-30% in some samples (up to 2.3 RA, where RA = air 3He/4He). Our quasi-continuous He-Ne record shows remarkable fluctuations over time scales of only a few hours and reflects the combined effects of gas stripping by hydrocarbons and an episodic input of mantle-derived fluids.

  10. Cold-seep mollusks are older than the general marine mollusk fauna.

    PubMed

    Kiel, Steffen; Little, Crispin T S

    2006-09-08

    The origin and possible antiquity of faunas at deep-sea hydrothermal vents and seeps have been debated since their discovery. We used the fossil record of seep mollusks to show that the living seep genera have significantly longer geologic ranges than the marine mollusks in general, but have ranges similar to those of deep-sea taxa, suggesting that seep faunas may be shaped by the factors that drive the evolution of life in the deep sea in general. Our data indicate that deep-sea anoxic/dysoxic events did not affect seep faunas, casting doubt on the suggested anoxic nature and/or global extent of these events.

  11. Paleo-environmental controls on cold seep carbonate authigenesis in the Sea of Marmara

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crémière, Antoine; Bayon, Germain; Ponzevera, Emmanuel; Pierre, Catherine

    2013-08-01

    studied sites (average 9.4±1.8 ka, n=16) and the regional anoxic sapropel event support the idea that the drop in bottom water dissolved oxygen content was probably a key factor to enhance microbial activity and associated carbonate precipitation at that time. Overall, these results provide straightforward evidence that fluid emission dynamics and hydrocarbon oxidation at cold seeps can be directly related to changing environmental conditions through time.

  12. Thermal Imagery of Groundwater Seeps: Possibilities and Limitations.

    PubMed

    Mundy, Erin; Gleeson, Tom; Roberts, Mark; Baraer, Michel; McKenzie, Jeffrey M

    2017-03-01

    Quantifying groundwater flow at seepage faces is crucial because seepage faces influence the hydroecology and water budgets of watersheds, lakes, rivers and oceans, and because measuring groundwater fluxes directly in aquifers is extremely difficult. Seepage faces provide a direct and measurable groundwater flux but there is no existing method to quantitatively image groundwater processes at this boundary. Our objective is to determine the possibilities and limitations of thermal imagery in quantifying groundwater discharge from discrete seeps. We developed a conceptual model of temperature below discrete seeps, observed 20 seeps spectacularly exposed in three dimensions at an unused limestone quarry and conducted field experiments to examine the role of diurnal changes and rock face heterogeneity on thermal imagery. The conceptual model suggests that convective air-water heat exchange driven by temperature differences is the dominant heat transfer mechanism. Thermal imagery is effective at locating and characterizing the flux of groundwater seeps. Areas of active groundwater flow and ice growth can be identified from thermal images in the winter, and seepage rates can be differentiated in the summer. However, the application of thermal imagery is limited by diverse factors including technical issues of image acquisition, diurnal changes in radiation and temperature, and rock face heterogeneity. Groundwater discharge rates could not be directly quantified from thermal imagery using our observations but our conceptual model and experiments suggest that thermal imagery could quantify groundwater discharge when there are large temperature differences, simple cliff faces, non-freezing conditions, and no solar radiation. © 2016, National Ground Water Association.

  13. Phosphogenesis at a Cretaceous methane seep from New Zealand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zwicker, Jennifer; Steindl, Florian; Smrzka, Daniel; Böttcher, Michael; Gier, Susanne; Kiel, Steffen; Peckmann, Jörn

    2016-04-01

    Phosphate-rich deposits have been a topic of intense research for decades. The process of phosphogenesis is mainly observed in marine sediments of coastal upwelling zones, where organic matter delivers sufficient phosphorus (P) to enable the formation of phosphorites. As P may be cycled within marine sediments on short timescales, only specific geochemical conditions allow for the precipitation and preservation of phosphate minerals. The processes that enable phosphogenesis are still a matter of debate, and not all mechanisms involved are fully understood. We expand the scope of known phosphorous-rich deposits further, with evidence of phosphogenesis at methane seeps. Cretaceous methane-seep limestones from Waipiro Bay, New Zealand, exhibit (1) a matrix composed of cryptocrystalline fluorapatite in between micritic spheroids and coated calcite grains, and (2) phosphatic spheroids within a micritic matrix. Due to the abundant spherical morphologies of phosphate and carbonate grains, and the exceptionally well preserved phosphate matrix, we suggest that their formation was associated with microbial activity. Methane seeps provide ideal conditions for chemosynthetic communities to thrive, and for the growth of bacterial mats at the sediment water interface. To understand these unique deposits, we derive a formation scenario for apatite and spheroidal carbonate, using detailed petrographical observations, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and electron microprobe analyses. Furthermore, it is shown that phase-specific stable carbon and oxygen isotopes confirm that both phosphate and carbonate formation occurred at a methane seep.

  14. Adaptation to deep-sea methane seeps from Cretaceous shallow-water black shale environments?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kiel, Steffen; Wiese, Frank; Titus, Alan

    2013-04-01

    Sulfide-enriched environments in shallow water were considered as sites where animals acquire pre-adaptations enabling them to colonize deep-sea hydrothermal vents and seeps or where they survived extinction events in their deep-sea habitats. Here we present upper Cenomanian (early Late Cretaceous) shallow-water seep communities from the Tropic Shale in the Western Interior Seaway, USA, that lived during a time of extremely warm deep-water temperatures, which supposedly facilitates adaptations to the deep sea, and time-equivalent with a period of widespread oceanic and photic zone anoxia (OAE 2) that supposedly extinguished deep-water vent and seep faunas. Contrary to the expectation, the taxa inhabiting the Tropic Shale seeps were not found at any coeval or younger deep-water seep or vent deposit. This suggests that (i) pre-adaptations for living at deep-sea vents and seeps do not evolve at shallow-water methane seeps, and probably also not in sulfide-rich shallow-water environments in general; (ii) a low temperature gradient from shallow to deep water does not facilitate onshore-offshore adaptations to deep-sea vents and seeps; and (iii) shallow-water seeps did not act as refuges for deep-sea vent and seep animals. We hypothesize that the vast majority of adaptations to successfully colonize deep-sea vents and seeps are acquired below the photic zone.

  15. Morphology of Florida escarpment chemosynthetic brine seep community sites: deep-tow, seabeam, and GLORIA surveys

    SciTech Connect

    Paull, C.K.; Spiess, F.N.; Curray, J.R.; Twitchell, D.

    1988-02-01

    The Florida Escarpment near 26/degree/N was surveyed with Deep-Tow, Seabeam, and GLORIA in the area where chemosynthetic communities were discovered via ALVIN in the abyssal Gulf of Mexico. Seabeam bathymetry and GLORIA images indicate that the escarpment is a generally straight cliff with average slopes of about 45/degree/ from 2200 to more than 3250 m. The escarpment's face is cut by 2-km wide box canyons whose head walls are as steep as the intervening escarpment's face. The shapes of these canyons are difficult to explain with the traditional models of canyon formation. Sidescan sonar images and bottom photographs reveal that the escarpment's face is composed of a series of long, straight bedding-plain terraces which are truncated along nearly vertical orthogonal joints. Exposure of these truncated strata indicate the face of the escarpment is eroded. The contact between the basal escarpment and the flat-lying abyssal hemipelagic sediments is abrupt. Basal talus is uncommon because the abyssal floor is part of the distal Mississippi fan which is rapidly burying the escarpment. However, where talus occurs, it is in tongues of angular megabreccia of meter- and larger-sized blocks which indicate periodic catastrophic collapse. Sidescan images reveal bands of contrast in the reflective texture of the sea floor that extends 10-20 m from the base along more than 10% of the surveyed area. Photographic surveys show that these areas are associated with communities of abundant organisms. Apparently chemosynthetic communities line extensive sections of the escarpment base where reduced brines seep out into the sea floor. The morphology suggests joints and deep seeps are controlling factors in scarp retreat.

  16. Behavior of Carbonate Associated Sulfate During Authigenic Carbonates Precipitation at Cold Seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feng, D.; Peng, Y.; Bao, H.; Roberts, H. H.

    2011-12-01

    The carbonate associated sulfate (CAS) has been widely used in investigating geochemistry of ancient seawater sulfate. The reliability of CAS as a proxy of contemporaneous seawater sulfate has been examined in multiple cases and the results have been somewhat assuring in most cases involving open ocean deposits. Many geological carbonate deposits, however, were the product of early diagenesis, the CAS behavior in them, especially among different carbonate mineral phases that are sensitive to microbial activity and pore-water chemistry have not been examined. Distinct mineral phases are occurring among modern cold-seep carbonates in the Gulf of Mexico, which provides us a unique opportunity to examine the relationship between mineral formation condition and the CAS within. We found that the CAS concentration in different minerals varies widely without a clear pattern. The δ34SCAS and δ18OCAS also vary considerably, ranging from 21.9% to 56.2% (V-CDT) and from 10.5% to 24.8% (V-SMOW), respectively. On δ34SCAS versus δ18OCAS plots, both aragonite and calcite show linear trends that project down toward those of open seawater sulfate. The trends suggest that sulfate has been isotopically modified to various degrees in pore fluids before being incorporated into carbonate lattice. The much narrower δ34SCAS and δ18OCAS ranges for aragonite than for calcite suggests a much "pickier" condition for aragonite formation during early diagenesis, which is consistent with the fact that aragonite is more prone to precipitate in high sulfate concentration environments. Our results suggest that concentration and isotopic composition of CAS in seep carbonates may be controlled by the supply of pore-water sulfate during carbonate precipitation. The reliability of CAS in carbonate of early diagenetic origin as a proxy of contemporaneous seawater sulfate is therefore questioned.

  17. Natural hydrocarbon background in benthic sediments of Prince William Sound, Alaska: Oil vs coal

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Short, J.W.; Kvenvolden, K.A.; Carlson, P.R.; Hostettler, F.D.; Rosenbauer, R.J.; Wright, B.A.

    1999-01-01

    The source of the background hydrocarbons in benthic sediments of Prince William Sound (PWS), AK, where the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS) occurred, has been ascribed to oil seeps in coastal areas of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). We present evidence that coal is a more plausible source, including (i) high concentrations of total PAH (TPAH), between 1670 and 3070 ng/g, in continental shelf sediments adjacent to the coastal region containing extensive coal deposits; (ii) PAH composition patterns of sediments along with predictive models that are consistent with coal but not oil; (iii) low ratios (<0.2) of triaromatic steranes to methylchrysenes found in sediments and coals, contrasting with the high ratios (11 and 13) found in seep oil; and (iv) bioaccumulation of PAH in salmon collected within 100 m of the Katalla oil seeps but not in filter-feeding mussels collected near oilfield drainages 9 km from the seeps, indicating negligible transport of bioavailable PAH from Katalla seeps to the GOA. In contrast with oil, PAH in coal are not bioavailable, so the presence of coal in these benthic sediments confers no adaptive benefit to biota of the marine ecosystem with respect to PAH insults from anthropogenic sources.The source of the background hydrocarbons in benthic sediments of Prince William Sound (PWS), AK, where the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS) occurred, has been ascribed to oil seeps in coastal areas of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). We present evidence that coal is a more plausible source, including (i) high concentrations of total PAH (TPAH), between 1670 and 3070 ng/g, in continental shelf sediments adjacent to the coastal region containing extensive coal deposits; (ii) PAH composition patterns of sediments along with predictive models that are consistent with coal but not oil; (iii) low ratios (<0.2) of triaromatic steranes to methylchrysenes found in sediments and coals, contrasting with the high ratios (11 and 13) found in seep oil; and (iv) bioaccumulation

  18. Methane seep carbonates yield clumped isotope signatures out of equilibrium with formation temperatures

    SciTech Connect

    Loyd, S. J.; Sample, J.; Tripati, R. E.; Defliese, W. F.; Brooks, K.; Hovland, M.; Torres, M.; Marlow, J.; Hancock, L. G.; Martin, R.; Lyons, T.; Tripati, A. E.

    2016-07-22

    Here, methane cold seep systems typically exhibit extensive buildups of authigenic carbonate minerals, resulting from local increases in alkalinity driven by methane oxidation. Here, we demonstrate that modern seep authigenic carbonates exhibit anomalously low clumped isotope values (Δ47), as much as ~0.2‰ lower than expected values. In modern seeps, this range of disequilibrium translates into apparent temperatures that are always warmer than ambient temperatures, by up to 50 °C. We examine various mechanisms that may induce disequilibrium behaviour in modern seep carbonates, and suggest that the observed values result from several factors including kinetic isotopic effects during methane oxidation, mixing of inorganic carbon pools, pH effects and rapid precipitation. Ancient seep carbonates studied here also exhibit potential disequilibrium signals. Ultimately, these findings indicate the predominance of disequilibrium clumped isotope behaviour in modern cold seep carbonates that must be considered when characterizing environmental conditions in both modern and ancient cold seep settings.

  19. Methane seep carbonates yield clumped isotope signatures out of equilibrium with formation temperatures.

    PubMed

    Loyd, S J; Sample, J; Tripati, R E; Defliese, W F; Brooks, K; Hovland, M; Torres, M; Marlow, J; Hancock, L G; Martin, R; Lyons, T; Tripati, A E

    2016-07-22

    Methane cold seep systems typically exhibit extensive buildups of authigenic carbonate minerals, resulting from local increases in alkalinity driven by methane oxidation. Here, we demonstrate that modern seep authigenic carbonates exhibit anomalously low clumped isotope values (Δ47), as much as ∼0.2‰ lower than expected values. In modern seeps, this range of disequilibrium translates into apparent temperatures that are always warmer than ambient temperatures, by up to 50 °C. We examine various mechanisms that may induce disequilibrium behaviour in modern seep carbonates, and suggest that the observed values result from several factors including kinetic isotopic effects during methane oxidation, mixing of inorganic carbon pools, pH effects and rapid precipitation. Ancient seep carbonates studied here also exhibit potential disequilibrium signals. Ultimately, these findings indicate the predominance of disequilibrium clumped isotope behaviour in modern cold seep carbonates that must be considered when characterizing environmental conditions in both modern and ancient cold seep settings.

  20. Methane seep carbonates yield clumped isotope signatures out of equilibrium with formation temperatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loyd, S. J.; Sample, J.; Tripati, R. E.; Defliese, W. F.; Brooks, K.; Hovland, M.; Torres, M.; Marlow, J.; Hancock, L. G.; Martin, R.; Lyons, T.; Tripati, A. E.

    2016-07-01

    Methane cold seep systems typically exhibit extensive buildups of authigenic carbonate minerals, resulting from local increases in alkalinity driven by methane oxidation. Here, we demonstrate that modern seep authigenic carbonates exhibit anomalously low clumped isotope values (Δ47), as much as ~0.2‰ lower than expected values. In modern seeps, this range of disequilibrium translates into apparent temperatures that are always warmer than ambient temperatures, by up to 50 °C. We examine various mechanisms that may induce disequilibrium behaviour in modern seep carbonates, and suggest that the observed values result from several factors including kinetic isotopic effects during methane oxidation, mixing of inorganic carbon pools, pH effects and rapid precipitation. Ancient seep carbonates studied here also exhibit potential disequilibrium signals. Ultimately, these findings indicate the predominance of disequilibrium clumped isotope behaviour in modern cold seep carbonates that must be considered when characterizing environmental conditions in both modern and ancient cold seep settings.

  1. Use of LANDSAT-1 data for the detection and mapping of saline seeps in Montana

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    May, G. A. (Principal Investigator); Petersen, G. W.

    1976-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. April, May, and August are the best times to detect saline seeps. Specific times within these months would be dependent upon weather, phenology, and growth conditions. Saline seeps can be efficiently and accurately mapped, within resolution capabilities, from merged May and August LANDSAT 1 data. Seeps were mapped by detecting salt crusts in the spring and indicator plants in the fall. These indicator plants were kochia, inkweed, and foxtail barley. The total hectares of the mapped saline seeps were calculated and tabulated. Saline seeps less than two hectares in size or that have linear configurations less than 200 meters in width were not mapped using the LANDSAT 1 data. Saline seep signatures developed in the Coffee Creek test site were extended to map saline seeps located outside this area.

  2. Methane seep carbonates yield clumped isotope signatures out of equilibrium with formation temperatures

    PubMed Central

    Loyd, S. J.; Sample, J.; Tripati, R. E.; Defliese, W. F.; Brooks, K.; Hovland, M.; Torres, M.; Marlow, J.; Hancock, L. G.; Martin, R.; Lyons, T.; Tripati, A. E.

    2016-01-01

    Methane cold seep systems typically exhibit extensive buildups of authigenic carbonate minerals, resulting from local increases in alkalinity driven by methane oxidation. Here, we demonstrate that modern seep authigenic carbonates exhibit anomalously low clumped isotope values (Δ47), as much as ∼0.2‰ lower than expected values. In modern seeps, this range of disequilibrium translates into apparent temperatures that are always warmer than ambient temperatures, by up to 50 °C. We examine various mechanisms that may induce disequilibrium behaviour in modern seep carbonates, and suggest that the observed values result from several factors including kinetic isotopic effects during methane oxidation, mixing of inorganic carbon pools, pH effects and rapid precipitation. Ancient seep carbonates studied here also exhibit potential disequilibrium signals. Ultimately, these findings indicate the predominance of disequilibrium clumped isotope behaviour in modern cold seep carbonates that must be considered when characterizing environmental conditions in both modern and ancient cold seep settings. PMID:27447820

  3. Using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography to explore the geochemistry of the Santa Barbara oil seeps

    SciTech Connect

    Reddy, Christopher; Nelson, Robert

    2013-03-27

    The development of comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC x GC) has expanded the analytical window for studying complex mixtures like oil. Compared to traditional gas chromatography, this technology separates and resolves at least an order of magnitude more compounds, has a much larger signal to noise ratio, and sorts compounds based on their chemical class; hence, providing highly refined inventories of petroleum hydrocarbons in geochemical samples that was previously unattainable. In addition to the increased resolution afforded by GC x GC, the resulting chromatograms have been used to estimate the liquid vapor pressures, aqueous solubilities, octanol-water partition coefficients, and vaporization enthalpies of petroleum hydrocarbons. With these relationships, powerful and incisive analyses of phase-transfer processes affecting petroleum hydrocarbon mixtures in the environment are available. For example, GC x GC retention data has been used to quantitatively deconvolve the effects of phase transfer processes such as water washing and evaporation. In short, the positive attributes of GC x GC-analysis have led to a methodology that has revolutionized the analysis of petroleum hydrocarbons. Overall, this research has opened numerous fields of study on the biogeochemical "genetics" (referred to as petroleomics) of petroleum samples in both subsurface and surface environments. Furthermore, these new findings have already been applied to the behavior of oil at other seeps as well, for petroleum exploration and oil spill studies.

  4. Effects of meteorology on diurnal and nocturnal levels of priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and elemental and organic carbon in PM 10 at a source and a receptor area in Mexico City

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guzmán-Torres, Diana; Eiguren-Fernández, Arantza; Cicero-Fernández, Pablo; Maubert-Franco, Marisela; Retama-Hernández, Armando; Ramos Villegas, Rafael; Miguel, Antonio H.

    PM 10 levels of the 16 US-EPA Priority Pollutant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were measured from March 17 to 31, 2003, in 8-h time bins (morning, afternoon and nighttime) at Merced, a source site dominated by vehicular traffic emissions near the center of Mexico City, and at Pedregal, a receptor area located downwind in a residential area of low traffic. Along with PAH, elemental (EC) and organic carbon (OC), mass, and prevailing meteorological parameters were measured. At the source location, measured concentrations of benzo[ a]pyrene (BAP), an agent suspected of being carcinogenic to humans and of causing oxidative DNA damage, reached concentrations as high as 2.04 and 2.11 ng m -3 during the morning of a weekday and the night period of a holiday. Compared with source dominated areas in Central Los Angeles, the BAP levels found in Central Mexico City are approximately 6 times higher. Benzo[ ghi]perylene (BGP) levels were, in general, the highest among the target PAH, both at the source (7.2 ng m -3) and the receptor site (2.8 ng m -3), suggesting that, at both locations, exhaust emission by light-duty (LD) vehicles is an important contributor to the atmospheric PAH burden. Higher PAH concentrations were observed during the morning period (5:00-13:00 h) at the source and the receptor site. The concentrations of PAHs found predominantly in the particle-phase (MW > 202) correlated well ( r = 0.57-0.71) with the occurrence of surface thermal inversions and with mixing heights ( r = -0.57 to -0.72). Organic and elemental carbon ratios also indicated that Pedregal is impacted by secondary aerosols during the afternoon hours.

  5. Cold-seep habitat mapping: High-resolution spatial characterization of the Blake Ridge Diapir seep field

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wagner, Jamie K. S.; McEntee, Molly H.; Brothers, Laura L.; German, Christopher R.; Kaiser, Carl L.; Yoerger, Dana R.; Van Dover, Cindy Lee

    2013-08-01

    Relationships among seep community biomass, diversity, and physiographic controls such as underlying geology are not well understood. Previous efforts to constrain these relationships at the Blake Ridge Diapir were limited to observations from piloted deep-submergence vehicles. In August 2012, the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry collected geophysical and photographic data over a 0.131 km2 area at the Blake Ridge Diapir seeps. A nested survey approach was used that began with a regional or reconnaissance-style survey using sub-bottom mapping systems to locate and identify seeps and underlying conduits. This survey was followed by AUV-mounted sidescan sonar and multibeam echosounder systems mapping on a mesoscale to characterize the seabed physiography. At the most detailed survey level, digital photographic imaging was used to resolve sub-meter characteristics of the biology. Four pockmarks (25-70 m diameter) were documented, each supporting chemosynthetic communities. Concentric zonation of mussels and clams suggests the influence of chemical gradients on megafaunal distribution. Data collection and analytical techniques used here yield high-resolution habitat maps that can serve as baselines to constrain temporal evolution of seafloor seeps, and to inform ecological niche modeling and resource management.

  6. Cold-seep habitat mapping: high-resolution spatial characterization of the Blake Ridge Diapir seep field

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wagner, Jamie K.S.; McEntee, Molly H.; Brothers, Laura L.; German, Christopher R.; Kaiser, Carl L.; Yoerger, Dana R.; Van Dover, Cindy Lee

    2013-01-01

    Relationships among seep community biomass, diversity, and physiographic controls such as underlying geology are not well understood. Previous efforts to constrain these relationships at the Blake Ridge Diapir were limited to observations from piloted deep-submergence vehicles. In August 2012, the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry collected geophysical and photographic data over a 0.131 km2 area at the Blake Ridge Diapir seeps. A nested survey approach was used that began with a regional or reconnaissance-style survey using sub-bottom mapping systems to locate and identify seeps and underlying conduits. This survey was followed by AUV-mounted sidescan sonar and multibeam echosounder systems mapping on a mesoscale to characterize the seabed physiography. At the most detailed survey level, digital photographic imaging was used to resolve sub-meter characteristics of the biology. Four pockmarks (25–70 m diameter) were documented, each supporting chemosynthetic communities. Concentric zonation of mussels and clams suggests the influence of chemical gradients on megafaunal distribution. Data collection and analytical techniques used here yield high-resolution habitat maps that can serve as baselines to constrain temporal evolution of seafloor seeps, and to inform ecological niche modeling and resource management.

  7. Detection of hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon microseepage in the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming using isotopic, biogeochemical, and spectral reflectance techniques

    SciTech Connect

    Bammel, B.H.

    1992-01-01

    A stable isotope, biogeochemical, and gebotanical reflectance study was conducted at five areas in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming. Three of the areas are active hydrocarbon producing fields, including Little Buffalo Basin, Bonanza, and Enigma oil fields. One area contains no surface or subsurface hydrocarbons, the Cody Base area. One area, Trapper Canyon, is a surface tar sand deposit. In each area numerous reflectance spectra were measured and leaf samples collected from sagebrush over and surrounding the fields. At Bonanza and Trapper Canyon, sagebrush plants were also growing directly in hydrocarbon impregnated formations. Unusually low [delta][sup 13]C values of calcite were found in calcite-bearing samples over the Little Buffalo Basin Field. The systematic distribution of these low [delta][sup 13]C values is correlated with the subsurface oil and gas production axis. Significant distinctions between the surface hydrocarbon occurrences at Trapper Canyon and Bonanza Seeps are highlighted by chemical differences in sagebrush leaves. At Trapper Canyon relatively high concentrations of aluminum and iron are found. Sagebrush leaves at the Bonanza Seeps contain relatively low concentrations of calcium and potassium, and a relatively high amount of organic material. Analyses from sagebrush growing over subsurface commercial hydrocarbon deposits tend to be relatively low in magnesium and relatively high in sodium. The increase in sodium may indicate subsurface reservoirs without regard to their hydrocarbon content. The results of the geobotanical reflectance study shows that a significant blue shift of the green peak and red trough positions is the most reliable indicator of hydrocarbon-induced stress in sagebrush plants, and can only be detected where the sage is actually growing in visible surface or near-surface hydrocarbons. Spectral reflectance intensity data have no significant correlation with the presence of surface or subsurface hydrocarbons.

  8. Hypotaurine, N-methyltaurine, taurine, and glycine betaine as dominant osmolytes of vestimentiferan tubeworms from hydrothermal vents and cold seeps.

    PubMed

    Yin, M; Palmer, H R; Fyfe-Johnson, A L; Bedford, J J; Smith, R A; Yancey, P H

    2000-01-01

    Organic osmolytes, solutes that regulate cell volume, occur at high levels in marine invertebrates. These are mostly free amino acids such as taurine, which are "compatible" with cell macromolecules, and methylamines such as trimethylamine oxide, which may have a nonosmotic role as a protein stabilizer, and which is higher in many deep-sea animals. To better understand nonosmotic roles of osmolytes, we used high-performance liquid chromatography and (1)H-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to analyze vestimentiferans (vestimentum tissue) from unusual marine habitats. Species from deep hydrothermal vents were Riftia pachyptila of the East Pacific Rise (2,636 m) and Ridgeia piscesae of the Juan de Fuca Ridge (2,200 m). Species from cold hydrocarbon seeps were Lamellibrachia sp. and an unnamed escarpid species from subtidal sediment seeps (540 m) off Louisiana and Lamellibrachia barhami from bathyal tectonic seeps (1,800-2,000 m) off Oregon. Riftia were dominated by hypotaurine (152 mmol/kg wet wt), an antioxidant, and an unidentified solute with an NMR spectrum consistent with a methylamine. Ridgeia were dominated by betaine (N-trimethylglycine; 109 mmol/kg), hypotaurine (64 mmol/kg), and taurine (61 mmol/kg). The escarpids were dominated by taurine (138 mmol/kg) and hypotaurine (69 mmol/kg). Both Lamellibrachia populations were dominated by N-methyltaurine (209-252 mmol/kg), not previously reported as a major osmolyte, which may be involved in methane and sulfate metabolism. Trunk and plume tissue of the Oregon Lamellibrachia were nearly identical to vestimentum in osmolyte composition. The methylamines may also stabilize proteins against pressure; they were significantly higher in the three deeper-dwelling groups.

  9. Methane Metabolizing Microbial Communities in the Cold Seep Areas in the Northern Continental Shelf of South China Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, F.; Liang, Q.

    2016-12-01

    Marine sediment contains large amount of methane, estimated approximately 500-2500 gigatonnes of dissolved and hydrated methane carbon stored therein, mainly in continental margins. In localized specific areas named cold seeps, hydrocarbon (mainly methane) containing fluids rise to the seafloor, and support oases of ecosystem composed of various microorganisms and faunal assemblages. South China Sea (SCS) is surrounded by passive continental margins in the west and north and convergent margins in the south and east. Thick organic-rich sediments have accumulated in the SCS since the late Mesozoic, which are continuing sources to form gas hydrates in the sediments of SCS. Here, Microbial ecosystems, particularly those involved in methane transformations were investigated in the cold seep areas (Qiongdongnan, Shenhu, and Dongsha) in the northern continental shelf of SCS. Multiple interdisciplinary analytic tools such as stable isotope probing, geochemical analysis, and molecular ecology, were applied for a comprehensive understanding of the microbe mediated methane transformation in this project. A variety of sediments cores have been collected, the geochemical profiles and the associated microbial distribution along the sediment cores were recorded. The major microbial groups involved in the methane transformation in these sediment cores were revealed, known methane producing and oxidizing archaea including Methanosarcinales, anaerobic methane oxidizing groups ANME-1, ANME-2 and their niche preference in the SCS sediments were found. In-depth comparative analysis revealed the presence of SCS-specific archaeal subtypes which probably reflected the evolution and adaptation of these methane metabolizing microbes to the SCS environmental conditions. Our work represents the first comprehensive analysis of the methane metabolizing microbial communities in the cold seep areas along the northern continental shelf of South China Sea, would provide new insight into the

  10. Restriction to large-scale gene flow vs. regional panmixia among cold seep Escarpia spp. (Polychaeta, Siboglinidae).

    PubMed

    Cowart, Dominique A; Huang, Chunya; Arnaud-Haond, Sophie; Carney, Susan L; Fisher, Charles R; Schaeffer, Stephen W

    2013-08-01

    The history of colonization and dispersal in fauna distributed among deep-sea chemosynthetic ecosystems remains enigmatic and poorly understood because of an inability to mark and track individuals. A combination of molecular, morphological and environmental data improves understanding of spatial and temporal scales at which panmixia, disruption of gene flow or even speciation may occur. Vestimentiferan tubeworms of the genus Escarpia are important components of deep -sea cold seep ecosystems, as they provide long-term habitat for many other taxa. Three species of Escarpia, Escarpia spicata [Gulf of California (GoC)], Escarpia laminata [Gulf of Mexico (GoM)] and Escarpia southwardae (West African Cold Seeps), have been described based on morphology, but are not discriminated through the use of mitochondrial markers (cytochrome oxidase subunit 1; large ribosomal subunit rDNA, 16S; cytochrome b). Here, we also sequenced the exon-primed intron-crossing Haemoglobin subunit B2 intron and genotyped 28 microsatellites to (i) determine the level of genetic differentiation, if any, among the three geographically separated entities and (ii) identify possible population structure at the regional scale within the GoM and West Africa. Results at the global scale support the occurrence of three genetically distinct groups. At the regional scale among eight sampling sites of E. laminata (n = 129) and among three sampling sites of E. southwardae (n = 80), no population structure was detected. These findings suggest that despite the patchiness and isolation of seep habitats, connectivity is high on regional scales.

  11. Exploring Lower Slope Chemosynthetic Communities in the Gulf of Mexico: A Nested Survey Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacDonald, I. R.; Roberts, H.; Shedd, W.; Hunt, J.; Bernard, B.

    2006-12-01

    The Continental Slope of the northern Gulf of Mexico hosts diverse chemosynthetic communities at oil and gas seeps. A new, multi-disciplinary investigation of sites in the 1000 to 2800 m range has been sponsored by the U.S. Minerals Management Service and NOAA Ocean Exploration. This program will extend knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico chemosynthetic ecosystem in the zones anticipated to receive energy exploration and production activities over the coming decades. A nested survey approach was developed to identify representative sampling sites within this vast offshore area. Potential sites where chemosynthetic community might occur were selected on the basis geophysical, geochemical, and satellite remote-sensing indicators. A list of twenty high-priority targets was compiled from this review. Nineteen of these locations were surveyed during a reconnaissance cruise conducted on R/V GYRE from 11 to 25 March 2006. At each site, the seafloor was imaged using a drift camera system comprising a digital camera, CTD, and USBL navigation pinger. Several previously unknown communities were discovered by this process and were targeted for follow-up sampling with submarine ALVIN. The ALVIN cruise was completed on R/V ATLANTIS during 6 May through 3 June 2006. Extensive collections were made at sites discovered during the reconnaissance cruise and at sites known from previous investigations. Synoptic collections of over 50 RADARSAT SAR images were made to cover the entire region. Preliminary results demonstrate that the benthic ecosystem supported by natural hydrocarbon seepages comprises potentially hundreds of sites occurring over a depth range of 500 to 2800 m and distributed over the entire continental slope. Models developed from these investigations are essential for effective management of this ecosystem and for understanding the zoogeography of chemosynthetic species in the Gulf of Mexico and Western Atlantic Ocean.

  12. Hydrothermal vents and methane seeps: Rethinking the sphere of influence

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Levin, Lisa A.; Baco, Amy; Bowden, David; Colaco, Ana; Cordes, Erik E.; Cunha, Marina; Demopoulos, Amanda; Gobin, Judith; Grupe, Ben; Le, Jennifer; Metaxas, Anna; Netburn, Amanda; Rouse, Greg; Thurber, Andrew; Tunnicliffe, Verena; Van Dover, Cindy L.; Vanreusel, Ann; Watling, Les

    2016-01-01

    Although initially viewed as oases within a barren deep ocean, hydrothermal vent and methane seep communities are now recognized to interact with surrounding ecosystems on the sea floor and in the water column, and to affect global geochemical cycles. The importance of understanding these interactions is growing as the potential rises for disturbance from oil and gas extraction, seabed mining and bottom trawling. Here we synthesize current knowledge of the nature, extent and time and space scales of vent and seep interactions with background systems. We document an expanded footprint beyond the site of local venting or seepage with respect to elemental cycling and energy flux, habitat use, trophic interactions, and connectivity. Heat and energy are released, global biogeochemical and elemental cycles are modified, and particulates are transported widely in plumes. Hard and biotic substrates produced at vents and seeps are used by “benthic background” fauna for attachment substrata, shelter, and access to food via grazing or through position in the current, while particulates and fluid fluxes modify planktonic microbial communities. Chemosynthetic production provides nutrition to a host of benthic and planktonic heterotrophic background species through multiple horizontal and vertical transfer pathways assisted by flow, gamete release, animal movements, and succession, but these pathways remain poorly known. Shared species, genera and families indicate that ecological and evolutionary connectivity exists among vents, seeps, organic falls and background communities in the deep sea; the genetic linkages with inactive vents and seeps and background assemblages however, are practically unstudied. The waning of venting or seepage activity generates major transitions in space and time that create links to surrounding ecosystems, often with identifiable ecotones or successional stages. The nature of all these interactions is dependent on water depth, as well as

  13. A survey of microbial community diversity in marine sediments impacted by petroleum hydrocarbons from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic shorelines, Texas to Florida

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lisle, John T.; Stellick, Sarah H.

    2011-01-01

    Microbial community genomic DNA was extracted from sediment samples collected along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts from Texas to Florida. Sample sites were identified as being ecologically sensitive and (or) as having high potential of being impacted by Macondo-1 (M-1) well oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout. The diversity within the microbial communities associated with the collected sediments provides a baseline dataset to which microbial community-diversity data from impacted sites could be compared. To determine the microbial community diversity in the samples, genetic fingerprints were generated and compared. Specific sequences within the community genomic DNA were first amplified using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with a primer set that provides possible resolution to the species level. A second nested PCR was performed on the primary PCR products using a primer set on which a GC-clamp was attached to one of the primers. The nested PCR products were separated using denaturing-gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) that resolves the nested PCR products based on sequence dissimilarities (or similarities), forming a genomic fingerprint of the microbial diversity within the respective samples. Samples with similar fingerprints were grouped and compared to oil-fingerprint data from the same sites (Rosenbauer and others, 2011). The microbial community fingerprints were generally grouped into sites that had been shown to contain background concentrations of non-Deepwater Horizon oil. However, these groupings also included sites where no oil signature was detected. This report represents some of the first information on naturally occurring microbial communities in sediment from shorelines along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts from Texas to Florida.

  14. Draft Genome Sequence of Microbacterium foliorum Strain 122 Isolated from a Plant Growing in a Chronically Hydrocarbon-Contaminated Site

    PubMed Central

    Fulthorpe, Roberta; Sentchilo, Vladimir; van der Meer, Jan Roelof

    2017-01-01

    ABSTRACT Microbacterium foliorum strain 122 is a bacterial endophyte isolated from a Dactylis glomerata plant growing in a natural oil seep soil located in Oil Springs, Ontario, Canada. We present here a draft genome sequence of an endophytic strain that has promising potential in hydrocarbon degradation and plant growth promotion. PMID:28546498

  15. Draft Genome Sequence of Microbacterium foliorum Strain 122 Isolated from a Plant Growing in a Chronically Hydrocarbon-Contaminated Site.

    PubMed

    Lumactud, Rhea; Fulthorpe, Roberta; Sentchilo, Vladimir; van der Meer, Jan Roelof

    2017-05-25

    Microbacterium foliorum strain 122 is a bacterial endophyte isolated from a Dactylis glomerata plant growing in a natural oil seep soil located in Oil Springs, Ontario, Canada. We present here a draft genome sequence of an endophytic strain that has promising potential in hydrocarbon degradation and plant growth promotion. Copyright © 2017 Lumactud et al.

  16. Dive site geology: DSV ALVIN (2006) and ROV JASON II (2007) dives to the middle-lower continental slope, northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberts, H. H.; Shedd, W.; Hunt, J., Jr.

    2010-11-01

    Use of DSV ALVIN (2006) and ROV JASON II (2007) provided access to never observed or sampled sites of fluid-gas expulsion from the little-studied middle and lower continental slope of the northern Gulf of Mexico (below water depths of 1000 m). Dives were focused on 15 locations selected by 3-D seismic surface attributes and shallow subsurface geologic analyses. The linkage between highly positive seafloor reflectivity and hard bottoms proved to be an efficient indicator of potential sites of interest. Through observation and sampling of reflective sites, starting in the mid-1980s, it has become apparent that most hard bottoms on the northern Gulf's continental slope are created by the precipitation of authigenic carbonates at hydrocarbon seep sites. Access to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement's extraordinary archive of slope-wide 3-D seismic data made efficient site selection possible. From thousands of sites that display the characteristics of fluid-gas expulsion, 15 were observed and sampled during the 2006 and 2007 cruises. Water depths in which these 15 sites were located ranged from ∼2750 to ∼970 m. All sites exhibited evidence of hydrocarbon seepage or more rapid venting. Chemosynthetic organisms, authigenic carbonates, barite, gas hydrates, highly anoxic surface sediments, brine pools, and hydrocarbon-laced brine flows were identified and sampled. High-resolution acoustic Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) data, including multibeam bathymetry, side-scan sonar swaths, and chirp sonar subbottom profiles, were collected at four locations (AC601, WR269, GC852, and AT340). Data sets from the 2006 and 2007 dives resulted in a greatly improved understanding of both cross-slope and along-slope variability in the characteristics of fluid-gas expulsion sites and associated habitats. Our studies confirmed the importance of fluid-gas expulsion processes for sustaining chemosynthetic communities and impacting seabed geology on the

  17. Biogeochemical investigations of marine methane seeps, Hydrate Ridge, Oregon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valentine, David L.; Kastner, Miriam; Wardlaw, George D.; Wang, Xuchen; Purdy, Alexandra; Bartlett, Douglas H.

    2005-12-01

    A series of biogeochemical studies were conducted at the southern summit of Hydrate Ridge, offshore Oregon. Using the submersible DSV Alvin, sediment push cores were collected from two distinct seep environments characterized by the presence of clam fields (CF) or microbial mats (MM) at the sediment-water interface; samples were also collected from a nearby reference site characterized by a barren surface at the sediment-water interface. Sediment samples from each setting were analyzed for the depth distributions of total organic carbon (concentrations, δ13C and Δ14C), total sedimentary nitrogen, and microbial abundance. Pore fluids were extracted and analyzed for sulfate, alkalinity, sulfide, organic carbon, and volatile organic acids. These depth distributions clearly indicate the presence of three distinctive biogeochemical settings in the surface sediments of Hydrate Ridge, and provide the basis for a comparative biogeochemical analysis. Both CF and MM sites display properties indicating enhanced microbial activity in the subsurface, compared with the reference site. MM sites display evidence of net biomass production in the subsurface; however, a loss of sediment nitrogen relative to the reference site indicates that mineralization is also enhanced. Calculations based on the removal of nitrogen indicate that greater than 30% of autochthonous organic material is lost to enhanced mineralization in the top 23 cm of one MM site. An isotope mass balance of sediment-bound organic carbon indicates a mixed source, including methane and allochthonous organic carbon dissolved in the seep fluids. The concentrations of organic carbon dissolved in seep fluids reach values of 22 mM and provide a first indication that advective transport of dissolved organic carbon from great depth may supply an important source of energy and carbon to "methane seep" communities.

  18. Characterizing Methane Emissions at Local Scales with a 20 Year Total Hydrocarbon Time Series, Imaging Spectrometry, and Web Facilitated Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradley, Eliza Swan

    Methane is an important greenhouse gas for which uncertainty in local emission strengths necessitates improved source characterizations. Although CH4 plume mapping did not motivate the NASA Airborne Visible InfraRed Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) design and municipal air quality monitoring stations were not intended for studying marine geological seepage, these assets have capabilities that can make them viable for studying concentrated (high flux, highly heterogeneous) CH4 sources, such as the Coal Oil Point (COP) seep field (˜0.015 Tg CH4 yr-1) offshore Santa Barbara, California. Hourly total hydrocarbon (THC) data, spanning 1990 to 2008 from an air pollution station located near COP, were analyzed and showed geologic CH4 emissions as the dominant local source. A band ratio approach was developed and applied to high glint AVIRIS data over COP, resulting in local-scale mapping of natural atmospheric CH4 plumes. A Cluster-Tuned Matched Filter (CTMF) technique was applied to Gulf of Mexico AVIRIS data to detect CH4 venting from offshore platforms. Review of 744 platform-centered CTMF subsets was facilitated through a flexible PHP-based web portal. This dissertation demonstrates the value of investigating municipal air quality data and imaging spectrometry for gathering insight into concentrated methane source emissions and highlights how flexible web-based solutions can help facilitate remote sensing research.

  19. Lipid Biomarkers and Carbon Isotopic Composition from Authigenic Carbonates and Seep Sediments from the US Mid-Atlantic Margin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Campbell, P.; Prouty, N.; Demopoulos, A. W.; Roark, B.; Coykendall, K.

    2015-12-01

    Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM), mediated by Archaea and sulfate-reducing bacteria, is common in continental margin sediment and can result in authigenic carbonate precipitation. A lipid biomarker study was undertaken in Mid-Atlantic submarine canyons, focusing specifically on Baltimore and Norfolk canyons, to determine biomarker variability of carbonate rock and the associated sediment in cold seep communities dominated by chemosynthetic mussels, Bathymodiolus childressi. Preliminary 16S metagenomic results confirm the presence of free-living sulfur-reducing bacteria and methantrophic endosymbiotic bacteria in the mussels. Depleted d13C values in both the mussel tissue (-63 ‰) and authigenic carbonates (-48 ‰) support methanotrophy as the dominant nutritional pathway and AOM as the main driver of carbonate precipitation. In addition, paired 14C and 230Th dates are highly discordant, reflecting dilution of the 14C pool with fossil hydrocarbon derived carbon. Seep and canyon sediment, as well as authigenic carbonates, were collected and analyzed for a suite of biomarkers, including sterols, alcohols, alkanes and fatty acids, as well as δ13C values of select biomarkers, to elucidate pathways of organic matter cycling. A comparison of terrestrial biomarker signatures (e.g., n-alkane carbon preference index and C23 / (C23 + C29) values, HMW n-alkanes and C29 sterols) suggests that terrestrial inputs dominate the submarine canyon surface sediment, whereas seep sediment is predominantly marine autochthonous (i.e., cholesterol and 5α-cholestanol). Lipid biomarker profiles (e.g., n-alkanes in the C15 to C33 range) from authigenic carbonates mirror those found in the seep sediment, suggesting that the organisms mediating carbonate precipitation on the seafloor are characteristic of the assemblages present in the sediment at these sites. With widespread methane leakage recently discovered along the Atlantic Margin, the presence of AOM-mediated carbonate

  20. Cryptic species of Archinome (Annelida: Amphinomida) from vents and seeps

    PubMed Central

    Borda, Elizabeth; Kudenov, Jerry D.; Chevaldonné, Pierre; Blake, James A.; Desbruyères, Daniel; Fabri, Marie-Claire; Hourdez, Stéphane; Pleijel, Fredrik; Shank, Timothy M.; Wilson, Nerida G.; Schulze, Anja; Rouse, Greg W.

    2013-01-01

    Since its description from the Galapagos Rift in the mid-1980s, Archinome rosacea has been recorded at hydrothermal vents in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Only recently was a second species described from the Pacific Antarctic Ridge. We inferred the identities and evolutionary relationships of Archinome representatives sampled from across the hydrothermal vent range of the genus, which is now extended to cold methane seeps. Species delimitation using mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) recovered up to six lineages, whereas concatenated datasets (COI, 16S, 28S and ITS1) supported only four or five of these as clades. Morphological approaches alone were inconclusive to verify the identities of species owing to the lack of discrete diagnostic characters. We recognize five Archinome species, with three that are new to science. The new species, designated based on molecular evidence alone, include: Archinome levinae n. sp., which occurs at both vents and seeps in the east Pacific, Archinome tethyana n. sp., which inhabits Atlantic vents and Archinome jasoni n. sp., also present in the Atlantic, and whose distribution extends to the Indian and southwest Pacific Oceans. Biogeographic connections between vents and seeps are highlighted, as are potential evolutionary links among populations from vent fields located in the east Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and Atlantic and Indian Oceans; the latter presented for the first time. PMID:24026823

  1. Cryptic species of Archinome (Annelida: Amphinomida) from vents and seeps.

    PubMed

    Borda, Elizabeth; Kudenov, Jerry D; Chevaldonné, Pierre; Blake, James A; Desbruyères, Daniel; Fabri, Marie-Claire; Hourdez, Stéphane; Pleijel, Fredrik; Shank, Timothy M; Wilson, Nerida G; Schulze, Anja; Rouse, Greg W

    2013-11-07

    Since its description from the Galapagos Rift in the mid-1980s, Archinome rosacea has been recorded at hydrothermal vents in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Only recently was a second species described from the Pacific Antarctic Ridge. We inferred the identities and evolutionary relationships of Archinome representatives sampled from across the hydrothermal vent range of the genus, which is now extended to cold methane seeps. Species delimitation using mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) recovered up to six lineages, whereas concatenated datasets (COI, 16S, 28S and ITS1) supported only four or five of these as clades. Morphological approaches alone were inconclusive to verify the identities of species owing to the lack of discrete diagnostic characters. We recognize five Archinome species, with three that are new to science. The new species, designated based on molecular evidence alone, include: Archinome levinae n. sp., which occurs at both vents and seeps in the east Pacific, Archinome tethyana n. sp., which inhabits Atlantic vents and Archinome jasoni n. sp., also present in the Atlantic, and whose distribution extends to the Indian and southwest Pacific Oceans. Biogeographic connections between vents and seeps are highlighted, as are potential evolutionary links among populations from vent fields located in the east Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and Atlantic and Indian Oceans; the latter presented for the first time.

  2. A hydrothermal seep on the Costa Rica margin: middle ground in a continuum of reducing ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Levin, Lisa A.; Orphan, Victoria J.; Rouse, Greg W.; Rathburn, Anthony E.; Ussler, William; Cook, Geoffrey S.; Goffredi, Shana K.; Perez, Elena M.; Waren, Anders; Grupe, Benjamin M.; Chadwick, Grayson; Strickrott, Bruce

    2012-01-01

    Upon their initial discovery, hydrothermal vents and methane seeps were considered to be related but distinct ecosystems, with different distributions, geomorphology, temperatures, geochemical properties and mostly different species. However, subsequently discovered vents and seep systems have blurred this distinction. Here, we report on a composite, hydrothermal seep ecosystem at a subducting seamount on the convergent Costa Rica margin that represents an intermediate between vent and seep ecosystems. Diffuse flow of shimmering, warm fluids with high methane concentrations supports a mixture of microbes, animal species, assemblages and trophic pathways with vent and seep affinities. Their coexistence reinforces the continuity of reducing environments and exemplifies a setting conducive to interactive evolution of vent and seep biota. PMID:22398162

  3. Soil-borne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in El Paso, Texas: analysis of a potential problem in the United States/Mexico border region.

    PubMed

    De La Torre-Roche, Roberto J; Lee, Wen-Yee; Campos-Díaz, Sandra I

    2009-04-30

    Ultrasonic extraction followed by Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction (SBSE) and thermal desorption inline coupled with Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (TD/GC/MS) was used to perform a comprehensive determination of soil-borne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in El Paso, Texas. The method provided good sensitivity and faster processing time for the analysis. The total PAHs in El Paso soil ranged from 0.1 to 2225.5 microg kg(-1). Although the majority of PAH concentrations did not exceed the soil screening levels regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the existence of PAHs in this ecosystem is ubiquitous. Naphthalene were found in 100% of the soil samples; while the heavy PAHs (five- and six-ring) were not often detected and mostly remained in closer proximity to industrial areas and major traffic points. The results ruled out the possibility of petroleum refining as the significant source of local soil-borne PAH contamination, but they suggested that the PAHs found in El Paso soil were closely linked to human activities and possible other industrial processes.

  4. Soil-borne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in El Paso, Texas: Analysis of a potential problem in the United States/Mexico border region

    PubMed Central

    De La Torre-Roche, Roberto J.; Lee, Wen-Yee; Campos-Díaz, Sandra I.

    2009-01-01

    Ultrasonic extraction followed by Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction (SBSE) and thermal desorption inline coupled with Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (TD/GC/MS)was used to perform a comprehensive determination of soil-borne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in El Paso, Texas. The method provided good sensitivity and faster processing time for the analysis. The total PAHs in El Paso soil ranged from 0.1 to 2225.5 µg kg−1. Although the majority of PAH concentrations did not exceed the soil screening levels regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the existence of PAHs in this ecosystem is ubiquitous. Naphthalene were found in 100% of the soil samples; while the heavy PAHs (five- and six-ring) were not often detected and mostly remained in closer proximity to industrial areas and major traffic points. The results ruled out the possibility of petroleum refining as the significant source of local soil-borne PAH contamination, but they suggested that the PAHs found in El Paso soil were closely linked to human activities and possible other industrial processes. PMID:18768257

  5. Experimental study of clay-hydrocarbon interactions relevant to the biodegradation of the Deepwater Horizon oil from the Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Warr, Laurence N; Friese, André; Schwarz, Florian; Schauer, Frieder; Portier, Ralph J; Basirico, Laura M; Olson, Gregory M

    2016-11-01

    Adding clay to marine oil pollution represents a promising approach to enhance bacterial hydrocarbon degradation in nutrient poor waters. In this study, three types of regionally available clays (Ca-bentonite, Fuller's Earth and kaolin) were tested to stimulate the biodegradation of source and weathered oil collected from the Deepwater Horizon spill. The weathered oil showed little biodegradation prior to experimentation and was extensively degraded by bacteria in the laboratory in a similar way as the alkane-rich source oil. For both oils, the addition of natural clay-flakes showed minor enhancement of oil biodegradation compared to the non-clay bearing control, but the clay-oil films did limit evaporation. Only alkanes of a molecular weight (MW) > 420 showed significant reduction by enhanced biodegradation following natural clay treatment. In contrast, all fertilized clay flakes showed major bacterial degradation of the oil, with a 6-10 times reduction in alkane content, and an up to 8 fold increase in the rate of O2 consumption. Compared to the control, such treatment showed particular reduction of longer chained alkanes (MW > 226). The application of natural and fertilized clay flakes also showed selective reduction of PAHs, mainly in the MW range of 200-300, but without significant change in the toxicity indices measured. These results imply that a large variety of clays may be used to boost oil biodegradation by aiding attachment of fertilizing nutrients to the oil.

  6. Biomarkers of Aryl-hydrocarbon Receptor Activity in Gulf Killifish (Fundulus grandis) From Northern Gulf of Mexico Marshes Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

    PubMed

    Dubansky, Benjamin; Rice, Charles D; Barrois, Lester F; Galvez, Fernando

    2017-07-01

    Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, shorelines throughout the Barataria Basin of the northern Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana were heavily oiled for months with Macondo-252 oil, potentially impacting estuarine species. The Gulf killifish (Fundulus grandis) has been identified as a sentinel species for the study of site-specific effects of crude oil contamination on biological function. In November and December 2010, 4-5 months after the Macondo well was plugged and new oil was no longer spilling into the Gulf waters, Gulf killifish were collected across the Barataria Basin from 14 sites with varying degrees of oiling. Fish collected from oiled sites exhibited biological indications of exposure to oil, including increase in cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A) mRNA transcript and protein abundances in liver tissues. Immunohistochemistry revealed increases in gill, head kidney, and intestinal CYP1A protein at heavily oiled sites. Intestinal CYP1A protein was a sensitive indicator of exposure, indicating that intestinal tissue plays a key role in biotransformation of AHR ligands and that ingestion is a probable route of exposure, warranting additional consideration in future studies.

  7. Impact of anaerobic oxidation of methane on the geochemical cycle of redox-sensitive elements at cold-seep sites of the northern South China Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Yu; Feng, Dong; Liang, Qianyong; Xia, Zhen; Chen, Linying; Chen, Duofu

    2015-12-01

    Cold hydrocarbon seepage is a frequently observed phenomenon along continental margins worldwide. However, little is known about the impact of seeping fluids on the geochemical cycle of redox-sensitive elements. Pore waters from four gravity cores (D-8, D-5, D-7, and D-F) collected from cold-seep sites of the northern South China Sea were analyzed for SO42-, Mg2+, Ca2+, Sr2+, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), δ13CDIC, dissolved Fe, Mn, and trace elements (e.g. Mo, U). The sulfate concentration-depth profiles, δ13CDIC values and (ΔDIC+ΔCa2++ΔMg2+)/ΔSO42- ratios suggest that organoclastic sulfate reduction (OSR) is the dominant process in D-8 core. Besides OSR, anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) is partially responsible for depletion of sulfate at D-5 and D-7 cores. The sulfate consumption at D-F core is predominantly caused by AOM. The depth of sulfate-methane interface (SMI) and methane diffusive flux of D-F core are calculated to be ~7 m and 0.035 mol m-2 yr-1, respectively. The relatively shallow SMI and high methane flux at D-F core suggest the activity of gas seepage in this region. The concentrations of dissolved uranium (U) were inferred to decrease significantly within the iron reduction zone. It seems that AOM has limited influence on the U geochemical cycling. In contrast, a good correlation between the consumption of sulfate and the removal of molybdenum (Mo) suggests that AOM has a significantly influence on the geochemical cycle of Mo at cold seeps. Accordingly, cold seep environments may serve as an important potential sink in the marine geochemical cycle of Mo.

  8. Formation and migration of Natural Gases: gas composition and isotopes as monitors between source, reservoir and seep

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoell, M.; Etiope, G.

    2015-12-01

    Natural gases form in tight source rocks at temperatures between 120ºC up to 200ºC over a time of 40 to 50my depending on the heating rate of the gas kitchen. Inferring from pyrolysis experiments, gases after primary migration, a pressure driven process, are rich in C2+ hydrocarbons (C2 to C5). This is consistent with gas compositions of oil-associated gases such as in the Bakken Shale which occur in immediate vicinity of the source with little migration distances. However, migration of gases along porous rocks over long distances (up to 200km in the case of the Troll field offshore Norway) changes the gas composition drastically as C2+ hydrocarbons tend to be retained/sequestered during migration of gas as case histories from Virginia and the North Sea will demonstrate. Similar "molecular fractionation" is observed between reservoirs and surface seeps. In contrast to gas composition, stable isotopes in gases are, in general, not affected by the migration process suggesting that gas migration is a steady state process. Changes in isotopic composition, from source to reservoir to surface seeps, is often the result of mixing of gases of different origins. Examples from various gas provinces will support this notion. Natural gas basins provide little opportunity of tracking and identifying gas phase separation. Future research on experimental phase separation and monitoring of gas composition and gas ratio changes e.g. various C2+ compound ratios over C1 or isomer ratios such as iso/n ratios in butane and pentane may be an avenue to develop tracers for phase separation that could possibly be applied to natural systems of retrograde natural condensate fields.

  9. Advances in Optical Characterization of Methane Seeps and Bubble Plumes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pizarro, O.; Farr, N.; Camilli, R.; Whelan, J.; Martens, C.; Goudreau, J.; Mendlovitz, H.; Camilli, L.

    2005-12-01

    Methane seeps are potentially a key contributor to the atmospheric methane reservoir and to the global greenhouse gas budget. Improved estimates of methane flux from ocean floor seeps are required to understand the magnitude and characteristics of this potential source. At less active, deep water seeps a large portion of the migrating gas is dissolved and oxidized before reaching the surface. However, in high-intensity, shallow water methane seeps the bubble density, speed and size are such that a significant fraction of the gas may reach the atmosphere. New types of in-situ chemical sensors are now available to quickly and reliably quantify dissolved methane throughout the water column. However, quantifying methane within the water column in the free gas phase (i.e., in bubbles) remains a challenging problem. Current approaches rely either on indirect acoustic methods or direct collection of bubbles. Acoustic methods have the disadvantage of requiring extensive calibration, and can fail to distinguish the bubble signal from other sources of acoustic noise. Gas-capture techniques are mechanically complex, have a surface expression that introduces some noise, and can potentially alias episodic events. In both cases the fine scale structure such as heterogeneity of the rising bubbling plume is lost. We describe a vision-based system to characterize bubble plumes and the seep features from which they emanate. Video-rate optical imagery from 3 cameras is used to generate precise measurements of the motion of bubbles. Lighting is provided by a distributed array of LED modules synchronized to the cameras. In order to conserve power and extend deployment times the system can be configured to be dormant until triggered by chemical sensors indicating high concentrations of methane. Plume characterization is based on the identification of the individual bubbles (and rejection of other particles). Additional image processing steps are then used to estimate each bubble

  10. Evolution and biogeography of deep-sea vent and seep invertebrates.

    PubMed

    Van Dover, C L; German, C R; Speer, K G; Parson, L M; Vrijenhoek, R C

    2002-02-15

    Deep-sea hydrothermal vents and cold seeps are submarine springs where nutrient-rich fluids emanate from the sea floor. Vent and seep ecosystems occur in a variety of geological settings throughout the global ocean and support food webs based on chemoautotrophic primary production. Most vent and seep invertebrates arrive at suitable habitats as larvae dispersed by deep-ocean currents. The recent evolution of many vent and seep invertebrate species (<100 million years ago) suggests that Cenozoic tectonic history and oceanic circulation patterns have been important in defining contemporary biogeographic patterns.

  11. Inorganic Carbon and pH in the Gulf of Mexico: Understanding the Deepwater Horizon Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, J.; Yvon-Lewis, S. A.; Bianchi, T. S.; Shields, M. R.; Du, M.

    2014-12-01

    The breakdown and respiration of oil compounds may contribute to the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) pool and thus ocean acidification. The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) has an abundance of natural seeps as well as numerous man-made structures that could provide a source of hydrocarbons to the water column. Samples of seawater were collected on the first GISR (Gulf Integrated Spill Research) cruise (G01) during the first week of July 2012. This cruise covered an area of ~1360 km2 roughly centered on the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Alkalinity profiles for the southeastern most stations indicate lower (~100 μmol/kg) alkalinities at depth when compared to other stations sampled. This results in calculated pHs that are ~0.5 units lower at depth than they are at the other stations. Another group of stations show increased DIC concentrations on the order of 100-150 μmol/kg higher than average at depths at 800 m and 1200 m leading to calculated pHs about 0.2 to 0.4 below average for those depths in all of the stations sampled. These features may or may not be persistent in this region, and the elevated DIC concentrations may be related to organic matter (petroleum or other) oxidation. Samples were collected from this same region 2 years later (June 2014) and the persistence of these features will be discussed in the context of linkages with organic carbon respiration and low pHs.

  12. Identification of Methanogens and Controls on Methane Production in Incubations of Natural Methane Seep Sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kevorkian, R.; Lloyd, K. G.

    2014-12-01

    Methane, the most abundant hydrocarbon in Earth's atmosphere, is produced in large quantities in sediments underlying the world's oceans. Very little of this methane makes it to surface sediments as it is consumed by Anaerobic Methanotrophs (ANME's) in consortia with Sulfate Reducing Bacteria (SRB). Less is known about which organisms are responsible for methane production in marine sediments, and whether that production is under thermodynamic control based on hydrogen concentrations. Although ANMEs have been found to be active in methanogenic sediments and incubations, it is currently unknown whether they are able to grow in methanogenic conditions. We demonstrated with bottle incubations of methane seep sediment taken from Cape Lookout Bight, NC, that hydrogen controls methane production. While sulfate was present the hydrogen concentration was maintained at below 2 nM. Only after the depletion of sulfate allowed hydrogen concentrations to rise above 5 nM did we see production of methane. The same sediments when spiked with methane gas demonstrated its complete removal while sulfate reduction occurred. Quantitative PCR shows that ANME-2 and ANME-1 increase in 16S copy number as methane increases. Total direct cell counts demonstrate a decline in cells with the decrease of sulfate until a recovery corresponding with production of methane. Our results strongly suggest that hydrogen concentrations influence what metabolic processes can occur in marine sediments, and that ANME-1 and ANME-2 are able to grow on the energy provided from methane production.

  13. Natural hydrocarbon background in benthic sediments of Prince William Sound, Alaska: Oil vs coal

    SciTech Connect

    Short, J.W.; Wright, B.A.; Kvenvolden, K.A.; Carlson, P.R.; Hostettler, F.D.; Rosenbauer, R.J.

    1999-01-01

    The source of the background hydrocarbons in benthic sediments of Prince William Sound (PWS), AK, where the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS) occurred, has been ascribed to oil seeps in coastal areas of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). The authors present evidence that coal is a more plausible source, including (i) high concentrations of total PAH (TPAH), between 1,670 and 3,070 ng/g, in continental shelf sediments adjacent to the coastal region containing extensive coal deposits; (ii) PAH composition patterns of sediments along with predictive models that are consistent with coal but not oil; (iii) low ratios of triaromatic steranes of methylchrysenes found in sediments and coals, contrasting with the high ratios found in seep oil; and (iv) bioaccumulation of PAH in salmon collected within 100 m of the Katalla oil seeps but not in filter-feeding mussels collected near oilfield drainages 9 km from the seeps, indicating negligible transport of bioavailable PAH from Katalla seeps to the GOA. In contrast with oil, PAH in coal are not bioavailable, so the presence of coal in these benthic sediments confers no adaptive benefit to biota of the marine ecosystem with respect to PAH insults from anthropogenic sources.

  14. Long-Term Aspect of 1980's Submersible-Observed Methane Venting on the Northern Gulf of Mexico Upper Continental Slope: Mapping of Areal Extent and Aggregation: R/V Okeanos Explorer EX1203

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carney, R. S.; Roberts, H. H.; Malik, M.

    2012-12-01

    Since the initial discovery of hydrocarbon seeps and associated communities on the upper Louisiana continental slope in 1984 there has been extensive and nearly continuous multidisciplinary exploration of these systems for scientific and regulatory purposes. Four sites within a 45km by 25km rectangle centered at 27° 41' 26.92"N, 91° 28' 4.26"W in the Green Canyon seafloor leasing area were the initial sites confirmed as seep systems by direct observation using the submersible Johnson SeaLink. Hydrocarbon gas venting at these sites ranged from small volume intermittent flow to continuous bubble plumes. The points of emergence ranged from consolidated sediment in mineral-prone environments to fluid muds and brine. The latter two fluid-prone environments represented an active and a quiescent expulsion features. The NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program 2012 expedition 1203 carried out multibeam mapping of this region 6-8 May using both a Konsberg EM 302 288 beam system and a Simrad EK60 scientific echo sounder. Returns from both systems were processed for water column signals. More than 75 indications of bubble plumes were observed representing one of the highest densities as well as magnitudes of individual plumes found to date in the Gulf of Mexico. The plumes were aggregated on the flanks of salt diapirs, ridges between salt-withdrawal basins and areas of multiple slope failures. Correlation with observations begun in the 1980's is good indicating long-term venting. Previous research on gas mix and isotopic content indicated a regionally complex pattern of biogenic and thermogenic methane sources.

  15. Day and night trophic variations of dominant fish species in a lagoon influenced by freshwater seeps.

    PubMed

    Arceo-Carranza, D; Vega-Cendejas, M E; Hernández de Santillana, M

    2013-01-01

    The aim of this study was to determine the trophic structure and nycthemeral variations in the diet of dominant fish species (Ariopsis felis, Bairdiella chrysoura, Micropogonias undulatus, Eucinostomus gula, Eucinostomus argenteus, Lagodon rhomboides and Sphoeroides testudineus) in Celestun Lagoon, a biosphere reserve located in the southern Gulf of Mexico, and influenced by freshwater seeps. A total of 1473 stomachs were analysed and nine trophic groups were recorded. Bray-Curtis