Cold seeps in Monterey Bay, California: Geochemistry of pore waters and relationship to benthic foraminiferal calcite
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An extensive geochemical and biogeochemical examination of CH(4) seeps in the Clam Flats area of Monterey Bay provides insight into the character of relationships between seep geochemistry and benthic foraminiferal geochemistry. The area is characterized by sulfide-rich fluids. Sulfide increases are associated with large increases in alkalinity, as well as small decreases in dissolved Ca and Mg. In addition, only small increases in NH(4) are observed, but values of delta(13)C of dissolved inorganic C are as low as -60 parts per thousand at shallow depths (< 3 cm). These observations indicate that all these processes are related to the bacterial oxidation of CH(4), which is transported upward by slow seepage of pore fluids. The geochemistry of the pore fluids should be relevant to the geochemistry of the carbonate tests of living and dead foraminifera. However, a profound disequilibrium of approximately an order of magnitude occurs between the delta(13)C values of stained (cytoplasm-containing) foraminiferal carbonate and the C isotope values of ambient pore water dissolved inorganic C. Reasons are unclear for this isotopic disequilibrium, but have important implications for interpretations of foraminiferal carbonate as a paleoenvironmental proxy. Much fine scale work is needed to fully understand the relationships between the biogeochemistry of benthic foraminifera and the geochemistry of the pore waters where they live. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.