The influence of CO2 seeps to coastal environments of Shikine Island in Japan as indicated by geochemistry analyses of seafloor sediments

Recently, two shallow CO2 seeps were described in Ashitsuki and Mikama Bay (Shikine Island, Japan). These sites were deemed to have potentials for studying the impacts of ocean acidification. Here, we report geochemistry analyses of seawater and seafloor sediments collected from the shallow coasts on and around the two CO2 seeps. Seawater analyses indicated that shallow waters in the area share similar acidic characteristics (e.g. Avg. pH = ca. 7.1), supporting the result of a previous study. Next, the sediments from all sampling loci also share similar properties (Avg. Fe: Si = 0.043; Avg. organic content = 1.26%; Avg. relative Si content = 75.25%). However, sediments from Matsugashitamiyabi hot spring, which is located near the Ashitsuki seep, showed high Fe: Si ratio (1.250) when compared to other loci. This is most likely a local phenomenon, where iron accumulates in the sediment by the precipitation of rust produced through the mixing of FeS from the hot spring and carbonated seawater of the nearby CO2 seeps. We also compared seawater (e.g. Avg. pH = 8.3) and sediments (Avg. Fe: Si = 0.126; Avg. organic content = 2.06%; Avg. Si = 69.06%) of Hidaka Port in central Wakayama (as a standard sample of coastal surface water environment), to the Shikine Island samples excluding the Matsugashitamiyabi hot spring samples. The differences in characteristics (i.e. lower seawater pH and lower Avg. Fe: Si ratio of the latter) were probably caused by CO2 seep influence, and indicate that the influence of the hot spring water to the sediment of both CO2 seeps was minimal, or probably none. Accordingly, these seep sites are useful for future studies on the effects of ocean acidification on sea floor sediment composition, and its implication to biodiversity and the ecosystem.

Hirano H., Kon K., Yoshida M., Harvey B. & Setiamarga D. H. E., 2019. The influence of CO2 seeps to coastal environments of Shikine Island in Japan as indicated by geochemistry analyses of seafloor sediments. International Journal of Geomate 16 (58): 82-89. Article.

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