Isotopic evidence for biogenic precipitation as a principal mineralization process in coastal gasohydrothermal vents, Punta Mita, Mexico

Alfonso, P., Prol-Ledesma, R.M., Canet, C., Melgarejo, J.C. and Fallick, A. (2005) Isotopic evidence for biogenic precipitation as a principal mineralization process in coastal gasohydrothermal vents, Punta Mita, Mexico. Chemical Geology, 224(1-3), pp. 113-121. (doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2005.07.016)

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Abstract

Mineral deposition in shallow submarine gasohydrothermal vents may be triggered by microbial activity according to isotopic data obtained for sulphides and carbonates. Submarine gasohydrothermal vents in Punta Mita, at the western coast of Mexico, discharge a mixture of water and gas (mainly nitrogen and methane) at a temperature of 85 °C. Algal mats cover the areas where thermal fluids are being discharged. The main minerals deposited due to the hydrothermal activity are calcite and pyrite. Moreover, barite, carbonate-hydroxylapatite, cinnabar and Tl-sulphide are actively depositing. Calcite is deposited as fine-scale laminated tufa-like aggregates with interlayered pyrite in thin layers. Cinnabar and Tl-sulphide are present within pyrite layers. In Punta Mita vents, almost all δ34S values measured in pyrite range from − 13.3‰ to − 4.9‰, and δ13C values in calcite vary from 0‰ to − 39‰. These results agree with the hypothesis that calcite and pyrite were deposited by mediation of microbial activity, caused by the coupled reactions of vent methane oxidation and marine sulphate reduction, and suggest that biomineralization prevails over abiotic precipitation processes in such coastal gasohydrothermal vents. The 14C ages obtained from carbonates, of approximately 40,000 years, may represent the minimum age for the methane that generates the carbonates in the vents.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fallick, Professor Anthony
Authors: Alfonso, P., Prol-Ledesma, R.M., Canet, C., Melgarejo, J.C., and Fallick, A.
Subjects:Q Science > QE Geology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Chemical Geology
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0009-2541
Published Online:25 October 2005

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