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Methane sources feeding cold seeps on the shelf and upper continental slope off central Oregon, USA

Torres, Marta E.; Embley, Robert W.; Merle, Susan G.; Tréhu, Anne M.; Collier, Robert W.; Suess, Erwin; Heeschen, Katja U.. 2009 Methane sources feeding cold seeps on the shelf and upper continental slope off central Oregon, USA. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 10. Q11003. 10.1029/2009GC002518

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Abstract/Summary

We report on a bathymetric mapping and remotely operated vehicle surveys along the 100–600 m region offshore Oregon from 43°50′N to 44°18′N. We interpret our results in light of available geophysical data, published geotectonic models, and analogous observations of fluid venting and carbonate deposition from 44°30′N to 45°00′N. The methane seepage is defined by juxtaposition of a young prism, where methane is generated by bacterial activity and its release is modulated by gas hydrate dynamics, against older sequences that serve as a source of thermogenic hydrocarbons that vent in the shelf. We hypothesize that collision of a buried ridge with the Siletz Terrane results in uplift of gas hydrate bearing sediments in the oncoming plate and that the resulting decrease in pressure leads to gas hydrate dissociation and methane exolution, which, in turn, may facilitate slope failure. Oxidation of the released methane results in precipitation of carbonates that are imaged as high backscatter along a 550 ± 60 m benthic corridor.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1029/2009GC002518
ISSN: 1525-2027
Additional Keywords: seep carbonates; Heceta Bank; gas hydrate; methane seeps; Cascadia margin
Date made live: 30 Nov 2009 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/169741

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