Cold seeps in deep marine settings emit fluids to the overlying ocean and are often associated with such seafloor flux indicators as chemosynthetic biota, pockmarks, and authigenic carbonate rocks. Despite evidence for spatiotemporal variability in the rate, locus, and composition of cold seep fluid emissions, the shallow subseafloor plumbing systems have never been clearly imaged in three dimensions. Using a novel, high-resolution approach, we produce the first three-dimensional image of possible fluid conduits beneath a cold seep at a study site within the Blake Ridge gas hydrate province. Complex, dendritic features diverge upward toward the seafloor from feeder conduits at depth and could potentially draw flow laterally by up to 103 m from the known seafloor seep, a pattern similar to that suggested for some hydrothermal vents. The biodiversity, community structure, and succession dynamics of chemosynthetic communities at cold seeps may largely reflect these complexities of subseafloor fluid flow.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Three-dimensional structure of fluid conduits sustaining an active deep marine cold seep|
|Series title||Geophysical Research Letters|
|Contributing office(s)||Coastal and Marine Geology Program, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center|
|Description||L05601; 5 p.|
|Other Geospatial||Blake Ridge|