Rare earth element geochemistry in cold-seep pore waters of Hydrate Ridge, northeast Pacific Ocean

TitleRare earth element geochemistry in cold-seep pore waters of Hydrate Ridge, northeast Pacific Ocean
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsHimmler, T, Haley, BA, Torres, ME, Klinkhammer, GP, Bohrmann, G, Peckmann, J
Date Publishedoct
Type of ArticleArticle
KeywordsHOV Alvin (Human Occupied Vehicle)

The concentrations of rare earth elements (REEs), sulphate, hydrogen sulphide, total alkalinity, calcium, magnesium and phosphate were measured in shallow ({\textless} 12 cm below seafloor) pore waters from cold-seep sediments on the northern and southern summits of Hydrate Ridge, offshore Oregon. Downward-decreasing sulphate and coevally increasing sulphide concentrations reveal sulphate reduction as dominant early diagenetic process from similar to 2 cm depth downwards. A strong increase of total dissolved REE (aREE) concentrations is evident immediately below the sediment-water interface, which can be related to early diagenetic release of REEs into pore water resulting from the re-mineralization of particulate organic matter. The highest pore water aREE concentrations were measured close to the sediment-water interface at similar to 2 cm depth. Distinct shale-normalized REE patterns point to particulate organic matter and iron oxides as main REE sources in the upper similar to 2-cm depth interval. In general, the pore waters have shale-normalized patterns reflecting heavy REE (HREE) enrichment, which suggests preferential complexation of HREEs with carbonate ions. Below similar to 2 cm depth, a downward decrease in aREE correlates with a decrease in pore water calcium concentrations. At this depth, the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) coupled to sulphate reduction increases carbonate alkalinity through the production of bicarbonate, which results in the precipitation of carbonate minerals. It seems therefore likely that the REEs and calcium are consumed during vast AOM-induced precipitation of carbonate in shallow Hydrate Ridge sediments. The analysis of pore waters from Hydrate Ridge shed new light on early diagenetic processes at cold seeps, corroborating the great potential of REEs to identify geochemical processes and to constrain environmental conditions.