International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 103, Issue 7, pp 1817–1829 | Cite as

Quantification of methane emission from bacterial mat sites at Quepos Slide offshore Costa Rica

  • Deniz KaracaEmail author
  • Tina Schleicher
  • Christian Hensen
  • Peter Linke
  • Klaus Wallmann
Original Paper


Seafloor methane emission from the Quepos Slide on the submarine segment of the Costa Rica fore-arc margin was estimated by extrapolating flux measurements from individual seeps to the total area covered by bacterial mats. This approach is based on the combination of detailed mapping to determine the abundance of seeps and the application of a numerical model to estimate the amount of benthic methane fluxes. Model results suggest that the majority of the studied seeps transport rather limited amount of methane (on average: ~177 μmol cm−2 a−1) into the water column due to moderate upward advection, allowing for intense anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM; on average: 53 % of the methane flux is consumed). Depth-integrated AOM rates (56–1,538 μmol CH4 cm−2 a−1) are comparable with values reported from other active seep sites. The overall amount of dissolved methane released into the water column from the entire area covered by bacterial mats on the Quepos Slide is estimated to be about 0.28 × 106 mol a−1. This conservative estimate which relies on rather accurate determinations of seafloor methane fluxes emphasizes the potential importance of submarine slides as sites of natural methane seepage; however, at present the global extent of methane seepage from submarine slides is largely unknown.


Methane Fluid seepage Submarine landslide Central American margin Reactive-transport modeling Bacterial mats 



We would like to thank the captains, crew members and the members of the scientific parties of R/V Sonne cruise SO173/2 and R/V Meteor cruise M66/2 for their helpful assistance at sea. Many thanks to Anke Bleyer, Bettina Domeyer and Regina Surberg for having carried out the chemical analyses onboard and at shore-based laboratories. This work was funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG). This publication is contribution no. 235 of the Sonderforschungsbereich 574 “Volatiles and Fluids in Subduction Zones” at Kiel University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deniz Karaca
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tina Schleicher
    • 2
  • Christian Hensen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Peter Linke
    • 1
    • 3
  • Klaus Wallmann
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 574GEOMAR, Helmholz Centre for Ocean Research KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Department of BioinformaticsUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  3. 3.Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)KielGermany

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