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TitoloSeep mounds on the Southern Wiring Plateau (offshore Norway)

Autori Ivanov M., Mazzini A., Blinova V., Kozlova E., Laberg J., Matveeva T., Taviani M., Kaskov N.

In Marine and Petroleum Geology, vol. 27 (6) pp. 1235 - 1261. ELSEVIER SCI LTD, THE BOULEVARD, LANGFORD LANE, KIDLINGTON, OXFORD OX5 1GB, OXON, ENGLAND, 2010.

DOI 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2009.11.009

Multidisciplinary study of seep-related structures on Southern Voring Plateau has been performed during several UNESCO/IOC TTR cruises on R/V Professor Logachev. High-resolution sidescan sonar and subbottom profiler data suggest that most of the studied fluid discharge structures have a positive relief at their central part surrounded by depression. Our data shows that the present day fluid activity is concentrated on the top of these "seep mounds". Number of high hydrocarbon (HC) gas saturated sediment cores and 5 cores with gas hydrate presence have been recovered from these structures. delta C-13 of methane (between -68 and -94.6 parts per thousand VPDB) and dry composition of the gas points to its biogenic origin. The sulfate depletion generally occurs within the upper 30-200 cm bsf and usually coincides with an increase of methane concentration. Pore water delta O-18 ranges from 0.29 to 1.14 parts per thousand showing an overall gradual increase from bottom water values (delta O-18 similar to 0.35 parts per thousand). Although no obvious evidence of fluid seepage was observed during the TV surveys, coring data revealed a broad distribution of living Pogonophora and bacterial colonies on sea bottom inside seep structures. These evidences point to ongoing fluid activity (continuous seepage of methane) through these structures. From other side, considerable number and variety of chemosynthetic macro fauna with complete absence of living species suggest that present day level of fluid activity is significantly lower than it was in past. Dead and subfossil fauna recovered from various seep sites consist of solemyid (Acharax sp.), thyasirid and vesicomyid (cf. Calyptogena sp.) bivalves belonging to chemosymbiotic families. Significant variations in delta C-13 (-31.6 parts per thousand to -59.2 parts per thousand) and delta O-18 (0.42 parts per thousand and 6.4 parts per thousand) of methane-derived carbonates collected from these structures most probably related to changes in gas composition and bottom water temperature between periods of their precipitation. This led us to ideas that: (1) seep activity on the Southern Voring Plateau was started with large input of the deep thermogenic gas and gradually decries in time with increasing of biogenic constituent; (2) authigenic carbonate precipitation started at the near normal deep sea environments with bottom water temperature around +5 degrees C and continues with gradual cooling up to negative temperatures recording at present time. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Soggetti Seep structures
Hydrocarbon gases
Gas hydrates
Methane-derived carbonates
Chemosynthetic fauna
Voring Plateau

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