Marine hydrocarbon seepage emits oil and gas, including methane ( approximately 30 Tg of CH(4) per year), to the ocean and atmosphere. Sediments from the California margin contain preserved tar, primarily formed through hydrocarbon weathering at the sea surface. We present a record of variation in the abundance of tar in sediments for the past 32,000 years, providing evidence for increases in hydrocarbon emissions before and during Termination IA [16,000 years ago (16 ka) to 14 ka] and again over Termination IB (11-10 ka). Our study provides direct evidence for increased hydrocarbon seepage associated with deglacial warming through tar abundance in marine sediments, independent of previous geochemical proxies. Climate-sensitive gas hydrates may modulate thermogenic hydrocarbon seepage during deglaciation.
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