A Hot and Deep Origin of Methane in Seafloor Hydrothermal Springs
Associate professor Eoghan Reeves at the K.G. Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research involved in a new study featured by the Deep Carbon Observatory.
A new study featured by the Deep Carbon Observatory sheds further light on the origin of widespread methane venting in seafloor hot spring fluids. The investigation was developed by Associate Professor Eoghan Reeves (Dept. of Earth Science and K.G. Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research), MIT/WHOI Joint Program graduate student David Wang and Professor Shuhei Ono of the Hardcore Stable Isotope Laboratory at MIT ). The researchers used novel measurements of methane clumped isotopologues (isotope 'flavors' of methane) to infer the temperature at which this critical carbon compound formed or was stored in the ocean crust. Methane is one of the "big three" chemicals nourishing chemosynthetic microorganisms in seafloor hot springs (hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide being the other two), says Reeves, but the only one whose origin has remained enigmatic. Reeves says this study is a critical step toward demonstrating a common origin of methane in fluids - most likely trapped bubbles of methane-rich gas in crustal rocks that are released by circulating fluids. The results were published this month in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.