Authigenic carbonates from methane seeps of the Congo deep-sea fan
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- Pierre, C. & Fouquet, Y. Geo-Mar Lett (2007) 27: 249. doi:10.1007/s00367-007-0081-3
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Submersible investigations with the ROV Victor 6000 of some pockmark structures on the seafloor of the Congo deep-sea fan have shown that they are active venting sites of methane-rich fluids, associated with abundant fauna and carbonate crusts. Moreover, methane hydrates have been observed both outcropping and deep in the sediments in the centre of the “Regab” giant pockmark. Authigenic carbonates, mostly calcite sometimes mixed with aragonite, are cementing the sedimentary matrix components and fauna; diatoms are abundant but only as moulds, indicating that biogenic silica dissolution occurred in situ synchronous with carbonate precipitation. The occurrence of diagenetic barite and pyrite in some carbonate crusts demonstrates that they can be formed either within the sulphate/methane transition zone or deeper in sulphate-depleted sediments. The oxygen isotopic compositions of the diagenetic carbonates (3.17–6.01‰ V-PDB) indicate that precipitation occurred with bottom seawater mixed with a variable contribution of water from gas hydrate decomposition. The very low carbon isotopic compositions of the diagenetic carbonates (−57.1 to −27.75‰ V-PDB) demonstrate that carbon derives mostly from the microbial oxidation of methane.