Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Taviani M., Angeletti L., Ceregato A., Foglini F., Froglia C., Trincardi F. The Gela Basin pockmark field in the strait of Sicily (Mediterranean Sea): chemosymbiotic faunal and carbonate signatures of postglacial to modern cold seepage. In: Biogeosciences, vol. 10 pp. 4653 - 4671. Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2013.
The geo-biological exploration of a pockmark field located at ca. 800m below sea level in the Gela basin (Strait of Sicily, Central Mediterranean) provided a relatively diverse chemosymbiotic community and methane-imprinted carbonates. To date, this is the first occurrence of such a type of specialised deep-water cold-seep communities recorded from this key region, before documented in the Mediterranean as rather disjunct findings in its eastern and westernmost basins. The thiotrophic chemosymbiotic organisms recovered from this area include empty tubes of the vestimentiferan Lamellibrachia sp., loose and articulated shells of lucinids (Lucinoma kazani, Myrtea amorpha), vesicomyids (Isorropodon perplexum), and gastropods (Taranis moerchii). A callianassid decapod (Calliax sp.) was consistently found alive in large numbers in the pockmark mud. Their post-mortem calcified parts mixed with molluscs and subordinately miliolid foraminifers form a distinct type of skeletal assemblage. Carbonate concretions display 13C values as low as −40 PDB suggesting the occurrence of light hydrocarbons in the seeping fluids. Since none of the truly chemosymbiotic organisms was found alive, although their skeletal parts appear at times very fresh, some specimens have been AMS-14C dated to shed light on the historical evolution of this site. Lamellibrachia and Lucinoma are two of the most significant chemosymbiotic taxa reported from various Mediterranean cold seep sites (Alboran Sea and Eastern basin). Specimens from station MEDCOR78 (pockmark#1, Lat. 3646010.1800 N, Long. 1401031.5900 E, 815m below sea level) provided ages of 11736636 yr cal BP (Lamellibrachia sp.), and 9609.5153.5 yr cal BP (L. kazani). One shell of M. amorpha in core MEDCOR81 (pockmark#6, Lat 3645038.8900 N, Long 1400007.5800 E, 822m below sea level) provided a sub-modern age of 48454 yr cal BP. These ages document that fluid seepage at this pockmark site has been episodically sustaining thiotrophic macrobenthic communities since the end of the Younger Dryas stadial up to sub-recent times.
DOI: 10.5194/bg-10-4653-2013
Subject Gulf of Mexico
Central Adriatic Sea
bivalve family Thyasiridae
mud volcanos
authigenic carbonates
accretionary prism
community composition
spatial distribution
bacterial symbioses
hydrothermal vents

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