Transport of carbon dioxide and heavy metals from hydrothermal vents to shallow water by hydrate-coated gas bubbles

Deep-sea hydrothermal plumes are of major importance in the biogeochemical ocean cycles and in this study we focus on plumes emitted from the Jan Mayen vent fields in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. These vent fields are of interest because of the high CO2 concentrations and also due to the different styles of venting occurring here. Venting at these sites occurs between 550 and 700 m depth and is characterized by the release of hydrate coated bubbles as well as focused flow venting. This study aims to enhance our current understanding of the impact of CO2 rich hydrate coated bubbles on the water column as well as the interaction between hydrothermally derived gases and metals in the water column. Three water column surveys were conducted in this area in between 2012 and 2014, in which the non-buoyant plume (NBP) produced by focused flow venting from both the Troll Wall and the Perle & Bruse vent sites was identified by primordial helium (3He), methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2) and dissolved manganese (Mn) enrichments close to 500 m water depth. Our results show that venting of hydrate coated CO2 rich bubbles increases bubble rise height, which results in shallow acidification locally above the vent sites. A polymetallic anomaly in the mid-depth water column above the NBP is also hypothesized to be a result of the hydrate coated bubbles. We argue that nanoparticles get sequestered to the hydrate lattice and travel with the bubbles until the lattice becomes unstable due to gas expansion upon depressurization during ascent. This process could fuel the primary production in the pelagic water column.

Stensland A., Baumberger T., Lilley M. D., Okland I. E., Dundas S. H., Roerdink D. L., Thorseth I. H. & Pedersen R. B., 2019. Transport of carbon dioxide and heavy metals from hydrothermal vents to shallow water by hydrate-coated gas bubbles. Chemical Geology 513: 120-132. Article (subscription required).

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