Lipid biomarkers preserved in hydrate-associated authigenic carbonate rocks of the Gulf of Mexico

  • Pancost R
  • Zhang C
  • Tavacoli J
 et al. 
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Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) is common in ocean-margin sediments, where it is mediated by consortia of Archaea and Bacteria and can result in the formation of authigenic carbonate, including extensive carbonate crusts. Previous work indicates that AOM is associated with Gulf of Mexico hydrocarbon seeps and is mediated by similar organisms as identified in other settings; however, biological investigations have not been done on the associated13C-depleted carbonates. Here, we show that13C-depleted archaeal and bacterial biomarkers are abundant in Gulf of Mexico authigenic carbonate rocks, revealing that AOM-mediating organisms are closely associated with carbonate authigenesis. Moreover, the rocks share general characteristics of the background (soft) sedimentary archaeal and bacterial community inferred from biomarker analysis, suggesting that the organisms associated with carbonate authigenesis are the same as those that live elsewhere in the hydrocarbon seep environment. This provides further evidence that AOM by Archaea and sulfate-reducing bacteria can result in the sequestration of significant quantities of methane-derived carbon in carbonate rocks. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Anaerobic oxidation of methane
  • Archaea
  • Authigenic carbonates
  • Bacteria
  • Diether lipids
  • Gas hydrates
  • Hopanoids
  • Irregular isoprenoids

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