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Basin-wide estimates of the input of methane from seeps and clathrates to the Black Sea

  • Author(s): Kessler, JD
  • Reeburgh, WS
  • Southon, J
  • Seifert, R
  • Michaelis, W
  • Tyler, SC
  • et al.
Abstract

Numerous methane-emitting bottom features, such as seeps, methane clathrate hydrates (clathrates), and mud volcanoes, have been identified recently in the Black Sea. The fluxes of methane from these sources averaged over large spatial scales are unknown. Here we take advantage of the fact that the Black Sea is a semi-enclosed basin with restricted deep water circulation to establish first-order estimates of basin-wide fluxes of methane from these sources to the water column and atmosphere. First, we measured the natural radiocarbon content of methane (14C-CH4) dissolved in the water column and emitted from seeps. The 14C-CH4 results showed that the dominant source of methane to the water column is emitted from seeps and a smaller source is diagenetically produced in relatively modern sediments. The 14C-CH4 results were then used to partition a basin-wide total methane budget; this analysis estimated the basin-wide flux of methane from seeps and clathrates to the water column to be 3.60 to 4.28 Tg yr-1. Second, a geochemical box model was used to calculate possible distributions of methane inputs from seeps and clathrates as well as provide additional estimates of the basin-wide flux of methane from seeps and clathrates to the water column (4.95 to 5.65 Tg yr-1). © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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