Distribution and isotopic composition (??13C) of low molecular weight hydrocarbon gases were studied in Big Soda Lake (depth = 64 m), an alkaline, meromictic lake with permanently anoxic bottom waters. Methane increased with depth in the anoxic mixolimnion (depth = 20-35 m), reached uniform concentrations (55 ??M/l) in the monimolimnion (35-64 m) and again increased with depth in monimolimnion bottom sediments (>400 ??M/kg below 1 m sub-bottom depth). The ??13C[CH4] values in bottom sediment below 1 m sub-bottom depth (<-70 per mil) increased with vertical distance up the core (??13C[CH4] = -55 per mil at sediment surface). Monimolimnion ??13C[CH4] values (-55 to -61 per mil) were greater than most ??13C[CH4] values found in the anoxic mixolimnion (92% of samples had ??13C[CH4] values between -20 and -48 per mil). No significant concentrations of ethylene or propylene were found in the lake. However ethane, propane, isobutane and n-butane concentrations all increased with water column depth, with respective maximum concentrations of 260, 80, 23 and 22 nM/l encountered between 50-60 m depth. Concentrations of ethane, propane and butanes decreased with depth in the bottom sediments. Ratios of CH4 [C2H6 + C3H8] were high (250-620) in the anoxic mixolimnion, decreased to ~161 in the monimolimnion and increased with depth in the sediment to values as high as 1736. We concluded that methane has a biogenic origin in both the sediments and the anoxic water column and that C2-C4 alkanes have biogenic origins in the monimolimnion water and shallow sediments. The changes observed in ??13C[CH4] and CH4 (C2H6 + C3H8) with depth in the water column and sediments are probably caused by bacteria] processes. These might include anaerobic methane oxidation and different rates of methanogenesis and C2 to C4 alkane production by microorganisms. ?? 1983.
Additional publication details
Distribution, abundance and carbon isotopic composition of gaseous hydrocarbons in Big Soda Lake, Nevada: An alkaline, meromictic lake