Near-surface Heating of Young Rift Sediment Causes Mass Production and Discharge of Reactive Dissolved Organic Matter Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/4018-8440-7252-4601-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2017

abstract

  • Ocean margin sediments have been considered as important sources of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to the deep ocean, yet the contribution from advective settings has just started to be acknowledged. Here we present evidence showing that near-surface heating of sediment in the Guaymas Basin, a young extensional depression, causes mass production and discharge of reactive dissolved organic matter (DOM). In the sediment heated up to ~100 °C, we found unexpectedly low DOC concentrations in the pore waters, reflecting the combined effect of thermal desorption and advective fluid flow. Heating experiments suggested DOC production to be a rapid, abiotic process with the DOC concentration increasing exponentially with temperature. The high proportions of total hydrolyzable amino acids and presence of chemical species affiliated with activated hydrocarbons, carbohydrates and peptides indicate high reactivity of the DOM. Model simulation suggests that at the local scale, near-surface heating of sediment creates short and massive DOC discharge events that elevate the bottom-water DOC concentration. Because of the heterogeneous distribution of high heat flow areas, the expulsion of reactive DOM is spotty at any given time. We conclude that hydrothermal heating of young rift sediments alter deep-ocean budgets of bioavailable DOM, creating organic-rich habitats for benthic life.

volume

  • 7