Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Panieri G., Camerlenghi A., Cacho I., Sanchez Cervera C., Canals M., Lafuerza S., Herrera G. Tracing seafloor methane emissions with benthic foraminifera: Results from the Ana submarine landslide (Eivissa Channel, Western Mediterranean Sea). In: Marine Geology, vol. 291 pp. 97 - 112. ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, PO BOX 211, 1000 AE AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS, 2012.
The hypothesis that benthic foraminifera are useful proxies of local methane emissions from the seafloor has been verified on sediment core KS16 from the headwall of the Ana submarine landslide in the Eivissa Channel, Western Mediterranean Sea. The core MS312 from a nearby location with no known methane emissions is utilised as control. The core was analysed for biostratigraphy, benthic foraminiferal assemblages, Hyalinea balthica and Uvigerina peregrina carbon and oxygen stable isotope composition, and sedimentary structures. The upper part of the core records post-landslide deglacial and Holocene normal marine hemipelagic sediments with highly abundant benthic foraminifera species that are typical of outer neritic to upper bathyal environment. In this interval, the delta C-13 composition of benthic foraminifera indicates normal marine environment analogous to those found in the control core. Below the sedimentary hiatus caused by the emplacement of the slide, the foraminiferal assemblages are characterised by lower density and higher Shannon Index. Markedly negative delta C-13 shifts in benthic foraminifera are attributed to the release of methane through the seabed. The mean values of the C-13 anomaly in U. peregrina are -0.951 +/- 0.208 in the pre-landslide sediments, and -0.269 +/- 0.152 in post-slide reworked sediments deposited immediately above the hiatus. The delta C-13 anomaly in Hyalinea balthica is 2.497 +/- 0.080 and -2.153 +/- 0.087, respectively. To discard the diagenetic effects on the delta C-13 anomaly, which could have been induced by Ca-Mg replacement and authigenic carbonate overgrowth on foraminifera tests, a benthic foraminifera subsample has been treated following an oxidative and reductive cleaning protocol. The cleaning has resulted, only in some cases, in a slight reduction of the anomaly by 0.95% for delta C-13 and <0.80% for delta O-18. Therefore, the first conclusion is that the diagenetic alteration is minor and it does not alter significantly the overall carbon isotopic anomaly in the core. Consequently, the pre-landslide sediments have been subject to pervasive methane emissions during a time interval of several thousand years. Methane emissions continued during and immediately after the occurrence of Ana Slide at about 61.5 ka. Subsequently, methane emissions decreased and definitely ceased during the last deglaciation and the Holocene. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2011.11.005
Subject methane emissions

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