Methane Venting into the Water Column Above the Pitcairn and the Society — Austral Seamounts, South Pacific

  • O. Thießen
  • M. Schmidt
  • R. Botz
  • M. Schmitt
  • P. Stoffers


In the past, marine hydrothermal systems were studied by numerous work groups that focused on different research aspects. For instance, mechanisms of fluid -associated particle transport and diverse hydrothermal mineralizations have been studied by von (1987), (1992), (1993), (1993), (1994), (1995), (1997), Scholten et al. (see Sect. 12.2) and others. Moreover, biologists found that hydrothermal vent systems can host chemosynthetic organisms (Tunnicliffe 1991; Jannasch 1995; Nelson and Fischer 1995; Dando et al. 1995). Hydrocarbons observed in hydrothermal systems were ascribed to abiogenic and biogenic formation processes. In particular, numerous hydrothermal vents on deep-seated sea floor show CH4 of abiogenic origin (Welhan 1988; Charlou et al. 1996, 2002). Hydrocarbon formation could occur via diverse processes like water-/rock reactions (including serpentinization processes) investigated by (1980), (1985), (1995), and (2002). Moreover, hydrothermal trace gases can also be introduced by mantle emanations (Craig and Lupton 1981; Welhan 1988) or formed in the Earth’s crust by thermocatalytic (Simoneit 1983; Michaelis et al. 1990) or abiogenic reactions (Apps 1985; Sherwood Lollar et al. 1993). On the other hand, biogenic methane formation (and/or hydrocarbon oxidation) may be caused by microbial activities within the vents and at or near the sediment surface at temperatures below 113 °C (Huber et al. 1990; Burggraf et al. 1990). These biogenic gases of relatively shallow origin may be superimposed on hydrothermal trace gas components formed by abiogenic reactions in the Earth’s crust.


Hydrothermal Fluid Hydrothermal System Methane Concentration Loihi Seamount Abiogenic Origin 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Thießen
  • M. Schmidt
  • R. Botz
  • M. Schmitt
  • P. Stoffers

There are no affiliations available

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