Stable isotopic compositions of methane and carbon monoxide in the Suiyo hydrothermal plume, Izu-Bonin arc: Tracers for microbial consumption/ production

Urumu Tsunogai, Fumiko Nakagawa, Toshitaka Gamo, Junichiro Ishibashi

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Effluent hydrothermal water samples in and around the water column of the Suiyo seamount caldera (ca. 2 km diameter), Izu-Bonin arc, were taken to determine concentrations and stable carbon isotopic compositions (δ13C) of methane (CH4) and carbon monoxide (CO) in the plume. Venting fluids on the caldera floor (ca. 1370 m depth) were also examined, using the manned submersible Shinkai 2000, to compare the chemical composition and isotopic composition of CH4 and CO with those in the hydrothermal plume. Strong CH4 enrichment was detected not only in the water column within the caldera, but also on those outside the caldera at the depth of ca. 1100 m, the sill depth of the caldera wall. Within the plume, we also detected significant CO enrichment. The δ13C of CO in the plume, however, exhibited highly 13C-depleted values (-110‰VPDB to -60‰VPDB) compared with those in seafloor venting hydrothermal fluids (around -31‰VPDB). Besides, the plume samples exhibited higher CO/CH4 ratios depending on the distance from the seafloor venting site. We conclude that in situ microbial activity in the plume causes the CO enrichment in the hydrothermal plume. The present results suggest that CO enrichment in deep sea water could act as a new tracer for unidentified seafloor hydrothermal activities, especially for detecting plumes distant from venting sites, as well as for quantifying in situ microbial activity related to CO production in hydrothermal plumes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-340
Number of pages15
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 15 2005


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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