- Kelemen, Peter Scientist
Seven field studies received support from Grant APS 2014-3-01, managed by Columbia University, to help advance DCO decadal goals related to the nature and extent of the deep biosphere, the deep abiotic formation of organic molecules, the nature and extent of carbon reservoirs, and the physics and chemistry of deep fluid-rock interactions. The selected studies—in six countries on four continents and in the Arctic Ocean—exemplify DCO’s efforts to document Earth’s carbon at the global scale through multi-disciplinary investigations of deep life, deep energy, reservoirs and fluxes, and extreme physics and chemistry. These studies are fostering intense cross-community collaborations, while providing unique and valuable samples (drill core, rocks, fluids, and biological samples) unavailable in any other context.
The grant’s largest activity involves drilling, geophysical measurements, and other studies of the Oman ophiolites, which contain perhaps the best-exposed zones of active serpentinization on Earth, with their attendant dynamic physical, chemical, and biological activity. Six other projects described involve research on: (1) deep fluids, noble gases, and microbiota of key sites within the ancient Canadian Shield; (2) the ~3.5 billion-year-old North Pole Dome region of Western Australia, which contains Earth’s oldest fossils and well-preserved C-bearing sediments; (3) drilling sites in the hydrocarbon-rich Songliao Basin of China; (4) a tectonically active exhumed subduction zone on Corsica, France; (5) the Romashkino oil fields in Tatarstan, Russia; and (6) enigmatic Arctic seafloor methane deposits. Each of these projects integrates interests of two or more DCO science communities.Robert Hazen and a crew from NOVA participated in the North Pole Dome expedition in June 2014. Led by Martin Van Kranendonk (University of New South Wales), a full report of the expedition can be found here . Currently, Larry Mayer (University of New Hampshire) is aboard the Swedish Icebreaker Oden exploring methane deposits in the Arctic seafloor off Siberia. The SWERUS-C3 project is also producing comprehensive blogs and reports for the two-leg, multi-month expedition that began in July 2014. In January 2015, the DCO Executive Committee will hold their meeting in Oman, where a two-day field trip to the exposed ophiolites will offer a full overview of the research activity planned for that field site.