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Origin and transport of pore fluids in the Nankai accretionary prism inferred from chemical and isotopic compositions of pore water at cold seep sites off Kumano
© Toki et al.; licensee Springer. 2014
- Received: 18 December 2013
- Accepted: 30 September 2014
- Published: 24 October 2014
We used push corers during manned submersible dives to obtain sediment samples of up to 30 cm from the subseafloor at the Oomine Ridge. The concentrations of B in pore water extracted from the sediment samples from cold seep sites were higher than could be explained by organic matter decomposition, suggesting that the seepage fluid at the site was influenced by B derived from smectite-illite alteration, which occurs between 50°C and 160°C. Although the negative δ18OH2O and δDH2O values of the pore fluids cannot be explained by freshwater derived from clay mineral dehydration (CMD), we considered the contribution of pore fluids in the shallow sediments of the accretionary prism, which showed negative δ18OH2O and δDH2O values according to the results obtained during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expeditions 315 and 316. We calculated the mixing ratios based on a four-end-member mixing model including freshwater derived from CMD, pore fluids in the shallow (SPF) accretionary prism sediment, seawater (SW), and freshwater derived from methane hydrate (MH) dissociation. However, the Oomine seep fluids were unable to be explained without four end members, suggesting that deep-sourced fluids in the accretionary prism influenced the seeping fluids from this area. This finding presents the first evidence of deep-sourced fluids at cold seep sites in the Oomine Ridge, indicating that a megasplay fault is a potential pathway for the deep-sourced fluids.
- Cold seep
- Pore fluid
- Nankai Trough
- Accretionary prism
- Clay mineral dehydration
- Methane hydrate dissociation
Cl− concentrations in the pore fluids at the bacterial mats are lower than that in seawater (SW) (Toki et al. ). Deviations of the chemical and isotopic compositions of the pore fluids from those of SW have been attributed to the mixing of fluids with compositions differing from those of SW (Kastner et al. ; Tsunogai et al. ; Dählmann and de Lange ; Mazurenko et al. ; Toki et al. ; Hiruta et al. ). Since each of these fluid sources is characterized by specific O and H isotopic compositions (e.g., Kastner et al. ). The seepage fluids on the Oomine Ridge have been inferred to originate from horizontally transported groundwater because the δ18OH2O and δDH2O values of the pore fluids at the cold seep sites on the Oomine Ridge are in the range of those of groundwater in coastal northwestern Japan (Toki et al. ).
In this study, we investigate the origin of the seepage fluids on the Oomine Ridge by examining concentrations of B. The level of B in seepage fluids is controlled mainly by interactions of sediment or rock with water, which depends on the temperature of the reaction (You and Gieskes ). High B concentrations have been reported in pore fluids from mud volcanoes (Aloisi et al. ; Teichert et al. ; Haese et al. ; Hensen et al. ; Reitz et al. ; Chao et al. ). Proposed sources of high B concentrations in pore fluids are organic matter desorption at low temperature (Brumsack et al. ; You et al. [1993b]) and smectite-illite alteration in the temperature range of 50°C and 160°C (You et al. ). The high temperatures required for such alteration occur at great depths in sediments and rocks of the Earth's crust, depending on the thermal gradient in a given area. Generally, average thermal gradients are between 50°C/km and 60°C/km (Parsons and Sclater ), and high-temperature environments of 150°C to 160°C are found at 2 to 3 km below the seafloor. Thus, by examining B concentrations, the contribution of deep-sourced fluids to pore fluids can be investigated (Martin et al. ; Aloisi et al. ; Haese et al. ). Using a submersible, we collected sediment samples from sediment depths of up to 30 cm at cold seep sites on the Oomine Ridge, and we evaluated the chemical and isotopic compositions, especially the B concentrations, of pore fluids extracted from the sediments. Then, we inferred the origins of the seepage fluids from these chemical and isotopic compositions.
Location of sampling points during the YK06-03 nd YK08-04 cruises of the tender Yokosuka
6 May 2006
33° 7.3283′ N
136° 28.7705′ E
Inside of a bacterial mat
6 May 2006
33° 7.2253′ N
136° 28.6672′ E
Inside of a different bacterial mat
6 April 2008
33° 7.3481′ N
136° 28.7341′ E
Inside of a bacterial mat
6 April 2008
33° 7.3481′ N
136° 28.7301′ E
Outside of a bacterial mat
6 April 2008
33° 7.2348′ N
136° 28.5974′ E
Inside of a different bacterial mat
6 April 2008
33° 7.2348′ N
136° 28.5974′ E
Outside of a different bacterial mat
6 April 2008
33° 7.2348′ N
136° 28.5974′ E
Inside of the bacterial mat samples in D1062 C3
Sediment cores up to about 30 cm long were collected from cold seep sites on the Oomine Ridge with MBARI-type push corers (http://www.mbari.org/dmo/tools/push_cores.htm). After sediment recovery, the SW overlying the sediment in the corer was first drawn into a plastic syringe, and the filtered SW through a 0.45-μm filter was then injected into a polypropylene bottle. These SW samples, obtained from a depth of 0 cm below the seafloor (bsf), were refrigerated at 4°C until analysis. After the overlying SW was removed from the corer, the sediment in the corer was subsampled at 5 cm intervals onboard using plastic syringes. Then, the pore water was extracted from the subsamples with a large clamp squeezer during cruise YK06-03 Leg 2 (Manheim ) and by centrifugation during cruise YK08-04 (Bufflap and Allen ).
Subsamples of pore fluid and SW to be used for analysis of the concentrations and carbon isotopic compositions of dissolved CH4, C2H6, and total carbon dioxide (ΣCO2 = H2CO3 + HCO3− + CO32−) were transferred to 2 cm3 glass vials containing H3NSO3 to convert the total dissolved carbonate to CO2 gas and HgCl2 to stop microbial activity. Subsamples of pore fluid and SW to be used for analysis of dissolved chemical components other than the aforementioned dissolved gases were transferred into 4 cm3 polypropylene bottles. The fluid samples in the polypropylene bottles were measured for NH4 (= [NH4+] + [NH3]) and Si (= [H4SiO4] + [H3SiO4−]) concentrations in the shipboard laboratory onboard the tender (Gieskes et al. ).
Analytical methods and errors for the measurement of chemical components in the pore water
pH (25°C, 1 atm)
Atomic absorption spectrometry
Chemical and isotopic compositions of pore water and bottoms SW
Depth cm bsf
The chemical and isotopic compositions of the fluid samples at cold seep sites differed from those at the reference sites (Figure 2). Regarding the curvatures in the graphs for Cl− and SO42−, the upward curvatures appear to imply upward movement of waters from depth. The occurrence of bacterial mats suggests that some CH4 escapes to the surface to feed these mats (Gieskes et al. ). The curvatures of δ18OH2O and δDH2O are also apparent, especially in D949 C3, with some ‘flyers’ in the δDH2O in the deeper part of C3. In a subsequent section, it is suggested that water flow does occur from greater depths. Therefore, this curvature must occur, with SW mixing occurring in the upper 10 cm of the cores.
Chemical and isotopic compositions of end members for the estimation in this study
547 ± 8
0.4116 ± 0.015
−0.09 ± 0.21
+1.1 ± 1.0
23 ± 8
Toki et al. 
549 ± 4
0.217 ± 0.057
−2.5 ± 0.4
−10.0 ± 2.8
Expedition 315 Scientists [2009a]
+0.6 ± 0.4
+8.0 ± 2.8
Origin of B in of pore fluids at cold seep sites on the Oomine Ridge
At Site C0001, near the surface trace of a megasplay fault in analogy with the Oomine Ridge, the coring was operated up to 458 m bsf during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 315 (Expedition 315 Scientists [2009a]). The results indicated that the heat flow was 47 mW/m2 and that there was no B enrichment. On the contrary, at Site C0002 on the northern rim of Kumano Basin (Expedition 315 Scientists [2009b]), the maximum depth reached during the Expedition 315 drilling was 1,057 m bsf. In addition, the heat flow was 56 mW/m2 (Harris et al. ) and there was no B enrichment. These heat flow data indicate that the high-temperature zone in which clay mineral dehydration (CMD) can occur was not reached by drilling in Kumano Basin. Thus, the lack of B enrichment at both sites implies that B-rich fluids at either depth did not pass through the hanging wall of the megasplay (C0001) or Kumano Basin (C0002). This result leads to the question of how B-rich fluids can flow to the Oomine Ridge.
In Nankai Trough off Muroto, high B concentrations in pore fluids up to 3 mmol/kg are shown in the décollement zone, which is attributed to fluid flow in the décollement zone (You et al. [1993a]). In the Japan Trench forearc, B shows an increase in pore fluids, which is also attributed to fluid advection in sediments (Deyhle and Kopf ). In all cases, lower chlorides than that of SW were noted. Thus, inputs of B by fluid flow seem to be clear in these areas. In the Nankai forearc off Kumano, fluids may flow through the megasplay fault, although we were unable to detect corresponding B enrichment at Site C0004 penetrating the megasplay fault (Expedition 316 Scientists [2009a]). Very few cold seep sites have been observed near the surface trace of the megasplay fault near Site C0004 (Ashi et al. [2009b]). These observations suggest that the megasplay near Site C0004 is not an active pathway for reductive fluids. A possible explanation for the different character of the megasplay between Oomine and C0004 is the difference in tectonic and hydrologic activities along the strike of the megasplay fault (e.g., Kimura et al. ).
Isotopic compositions of pore fluids at cold seep sites on the Oomine Ridge
At the cold seep sites on the Oomine Ridge, the observed δ18OH2O and δDH2O were negative (Figure 2), which led Toki et al. () to conclude that these fluids originated from groundwater. As suggested in ‘Origin of B in of pore fluids at cold seep sites on the Oomine Ridge’ section, however, if the fluids were derived from CMD, the values of δ18OH2O and δDH2O would be positive and negative, respectively (Magaritz and Gat ). It is possible that during their ascent to the seafloor, fluids derived from CMD mixed with fluids in sediments shallower than the estimated depth range of 1.5 to 3.5 km bsf, where temperatures from 50°C to 160°C enable CMD to occur. Such chemical and isotopic features have been reported in the Barbados subduction zone, although the distribution of δDH2O has not been explained by any possible processes in the sediments (Vrolijk et al. , ).
The chemical and isotopic compositions of the Oomine Ridge cold seep pore fluids also reflect the mixing of low Cl−, δ18O, and δD fluids with SW (Figure 2). The data for Cl− and δ18O, however, are scattered (Figure 2), implying that the pore fluids did not result from the simple mixing of two sources such as SW and another end member. Among the cold seep samples, sample D949 C3-3 (Cl− = 498 mmol/kg, B = 1.3 mmol/kg, δ18OH2O = −0.4‰, δDH2O = −3.4‰) differs most from SW with respect to these values (Figure 2). If the data of D949 C3-3 can be explained by some end members, the other data also can be explained by those end members with different mixing ratios. Therefore, we examined various possible sources in which the mixing with freshwater derived from CMD might explain the chemical and isotopic compositions of the pore fluids in the cold seeps on the Oomine Ridge.
Possible sources of fluids in cold seeps on the Oomine Ridge
First, we calculated the chemical and isotopic compositions of the SW samples from D949 (C1-0 and C3-0) and D1062 (C2-0, C3-0, C4-0, and C5-0), which consisted of SW overlying the sediment in each corer collected just before the sediments were sampled (Table 3). The chemical and isotopic compositions in these samples were averaged as Cl− = 547 ± 8 mmol/kg, B = 0.416 ± 0.015 mmol/kg, δ18OH2O = −0.09 ± 0.21‰, and δDH2O = +1.1 ± 1.0‰. All of these values fall within the range of those of North Pacific deep SW (Reid ); therefore, we adopted these values for the chemical and isotopic compositions of SW in this study.
Freshwater derived from CMD
In these equations, we considered δ18Oclay to range from +17‰ to +26‰ and δDclay to range from −95‰ to +33‰ because these are the reported value ranges for clay minerals in marine sediments (Savin and Epstein ; Yeh ; Capuano ). Then, using Equations 1 and 2, we calculated δ18OCMD to range between −3‰ and +17‰ and δDCMD to range between −85‰ and +79‰ for a temperature range of 50°C to 160°C. The B concentration of freshwater derived from CMD is unknown; therefore, we used the value of the Kumano mud volcanoes near the study area (23 ± 8 mmol/kg) as the reference value (Toki et al. ). Since the value of 23 mmol/kg is taken from the mud volcano site, the accuracy should be lower, and the error would be larger than 8 mmol/kg. But this value is essential to the modeling, and it should be stated for the fairness.
Shallow pore fluids in Nankai accretionary prism sediment
Freshwater from methane hydrate dissociation
A final factor that can influence the chemical and isotopic compositions of the pore fluids is the freshwater derived from MH dissociation. MH has never actually been recovered from Site C0001, which is situated in a position similar to the Oomine Ridge (Ashi et al. [2009a]). However, discontinuous bottom-simulating reflectors (BSRs) suggesting the presence of MH have been observed beneath the slope of the Nankai accretionary prism (e.g., Colwell et al. ). Moreover, MH was recovered from several hundred meters below the seafloor at Site C0008, which is near the surface trace of another megasplay fault on the seaward side of the Oomine Ridge (Screaton et al. ). In general, MH is recovered where sand layers occur (Ginsburg et al. ), although beneath the Nankai accretionary prism slope, which is composed mainly of silty clay, dispersed MH may be present (Screaton et al. ). Taken together, these findings suggest that it is possible for freshwater derived from MH dissociation to contribute to the fluids supplied to the cold seeps on the Oomine Ridge. Therefore, we also considered freshwater from MH dissociation in our estimation of possible contributions to the seepage fluid.
When MH forms in sediments, it consists mainly of CH4 and water, excluding salt from the ambient SW (e.g., Sloan and Koh ). When MH is recovered during drilling, the MH dissociates, depending on the temperature and pressure conditions, to release CH4 and water (Hesse and Harrison ; Ussler and Paull ). In vertical profiles of pore fluids, samples influenced by MH dissociation are characterized by a negative Cl− concentration spike and positive δ18OH2O and δDH2O values (Kvenvolden and Kastner ). Experimentally determined δ18OH2O and δDH2O fractionation factors during MH formation show a shift to heavier values from ambient water to the formation water; that is, Δδ18O shifts from +2.8‰ to +3.2‰ and ΔδD shifts from +16‰ to +20‰ (Maekawa ; Maekawa and Imai ). Here, we adopt as the reference value Δδ18O = +3.1‰, which was obtained in the Nankai Trough gas hydrate area (Tomaru et al. ).
If MH has formed in the vicinity of the outer ridge, then, given the composition of the SPF at Site C0001 (Cl− = 549 ± 4 mmol/kg, δ18OH2O = −2.5 ± 0.4‰, and δDH2O = −10.0 ± 2.8‰) and the experimentally determined isotope fractionation values of Δδ18O = +3.1‰ and ΔδD = +16‰ to +20‰, the isotopic composition of the formation water of MH can be estimated to be δ18OH2O = +0.6 ± 0.4‰ and δDH2O = +6.0 ± 2.8‰ to +10.0 ± 2.8‰. We used these values to calculate the contribution of MH dissociation to the pore fluids on the Oomine Ridge.
Mixing model for the formation of fluids supplied to the Oomine Ridge cold seeps
When we consider a mixing model with four components (end members) including SW, freshwater derived from CMD, SPF, and freshwater derived from MH dissociation, several solutions are possible. For example, for an equilibrium temperature of 160°C, we obtained the solution (X, Y, Z, W) = (0.47, 0.044, 0.44, 0.047) and (δ18OCMD, δDCMD) = (+16.5‰, +3‰); for an equilibrium temperature of 110°C, we obtained (X, Y, Z, W) = (0.70, 0.042, 0.21, 0.048) and (δ18OCMD, δDCMD) = (+3.7‰, −59‰). Using other clay mineral compositions and equilibrium temperatures, other solutions are possible. In particular, for (δ18Oclay, δDclay) = (+26‰, −95‰) and for an equilibrium temperature of 50°C, we obtained (X, Y, Z, W) = (0.67, 0.042, 0.24, 0.048) and (δ18OCMD, δDCMD) = (+5.6‰, −50‰). These results indicate that although it is not possible with this model to constrain the equilibrium temperature, the four-end-member model can nevertheless explain the seepage fluid compositions. We conclude that both MH dissociation and SPF contribute to the pore fluids in the cold seeps on the Oomine Ridge. The results indicate that the contributions of SW and SPF, SW > 40% and SPF = 20% to 50%, are dominant, followed by freshwater from clay minerals, CMD = approximately 4%, and MH dissociation, MH = approximately 5%, which contributes the least. The most important finding is that pore fluids at cold seep sites on the Oomine Ridge cannot be explained without considering CMD, SPF, and MH dissociation.
Behavior of pore fluids in sediments off Kumano
The results obtained in this study suggest that the pore fluid composition at the seepage sites on the Oomine Ridge reflects contributions from other sources, in addition to freshwater from CMD. Therefore, as the source fluids ascend from depth below the seafloor, they likely mix with pore fluids in the shallower layers of the accretionary prism before finally seeping out at the seafloor. However, when we considered the contributions only from SPF in the shallow accretionary prism, which is represented by fluids obtained during deep drilling, freshwater derived from CMD, and SW, the resulting contribution ratios could not explain the observed B concentration (‘Shallow pore fluids in Nankai accretionary prism sediment’ section). When we also considered a contribution of fluids derived from MH dissociation, we obtained the following contribution ratios in the seepage fluid (‘Freshwater derived from CMD’ section): about 4% fluid derived from CMD, about 5% fluid derived from MH dissociation, 20% to 50% SPF of the accretionary prism, and more than 40% SW (Figure 6; Source B). These ratios can explain the observed chemical and isotopic compositions of the pore fluids at the cold seep sites on the Oomine Ridge. Therefore, we conclude that fluids from MH dissociation, CMD, and SPF likely contribute to the pore fluids of the cold seeps.
The results of our estimation of fluid sources suggest that the mode of transport differs between the Oomine Ridge and the Kumano mud volcanoes. In the case of the Kumano mud volcanoes, both source fluids in sediments and the sediments themselves ascend to the seafloor, whereas on the Oomine Ridge, the source fluids mix with SPF sediments and with fluid from MH dissociation as they ascend to the seafloor, although the sediments themselves do not ascend. These different modes of fluid transport are consistent with hydrocarbon distribution differences between the Kumano mud volcanoes and the Oomine Ridge. Hydrocarbons of thermogenic origin are found only in the Kumano mud volcanoes, even though the fluids supplied to both the seepage sites on the Oomine Ridge and the Kumano mud volcanoes originate in environments with temperatures of more than 50°C (Toki et al. ). CH4 of microbial origin is distributed ubiquitously in the shallow sediments above several hundred meters below the seafloor in the accretionary prism off Kumano (Toki et al. ). Thus, sediments containing hydrocarbons of thermogenic origin rise to the seafloor within the Kumano mud volcanoes and are observed in the pore fluids in the subsurface sediments. In contrast, the fluids supplied to the Oomine Ridge contain CH4 of microbial origin from the shallow sediments through which the fluids passed during their ascent to the seafloor.
On the basis of the correlation between decreases in the isotopic compositions of the pore fluids and Cl− concentration, Toki et al. () inferred that the source of the seepage fluids on the Oomine Ridge is laterally transported meteoric water. The drilling beneath the seafloor since 2007 has revealed chemical and isotopic compositions of the pore water in the sediments to several hundred meters below the seafloor. The isotopic compositions of the pore water in the shallow sediments of Nankai accretionary prism both had negative values, similar to those of meteoric water (Figure 2). In this study, we focused on B concentrations in the pore fluids, which showed that the seepage fluids on the Oomine Ridge as well as Kumano mud volcano fluids are influenced by freshwater derived from CMD. The source fluids of the cold seeps can thus become mixed with SPF during their ascent to the seafloor. We observed no Li anomaly on the Oomine Ridge; thus, the source fluids did not pass through environments with temperatures above 150°C. We cannot rule out the possibility, however, that the characteristics of the original fluids in the deeper environments have been changed by mixing with SPF in the shallower sediments during the ascent. In the future, by conducting experiments with water and rock to determine trace elements not analyzed by You et al. (), a tracer that sensitively records information from deeper environments should be identified and utilized.
During cruises YK06-03 and YK08-04 of the tender Yokosuka, we collected pore water samples at cold seep sites on the Oomine Ridge. In these pore fluid samples, we found B derived from smectite-illite alteration, which suggests that the fluids were derived from environments with temperatures between 50°C and 160°C.
Our estimation of the source fluids based of a mixing model including a contribution of fluid from MH dissociation indicated that a mixture containing about 4% freshwater derived from CMD, about 5% freshwater derived from MH dissociation, 20% to 50% SPF from accretionary prism sediments, and more than 40% SW can explain the chemical and isotopic compositions of the cold seep fluids on the Oomine Ridge.
The fluids seeping on the Oomine Ridge are transported from depth via faults and are mixed with SPF of the accretionary prism sediments and freshwater derived from MH dissociation prior to reaching the seafloor. This transport mode is clearly different from that of the fluids in mud volcanoes, which ascend together with sediments and do not mix with SPF.
The authors thank the Shinkai6500 operation team and the captain and crew of the tender Yokosuka during cruises YK06-03 and YK08-04 for their continued dedication. We are grateful to Profs. S. Ohde, T. Oomori, and T. Matsumoto for their valuable comments that improved an earlier version of the manuscript. We also thank Prof. J. M. Gieskes and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive suggestions, as well as Dr. Masataka Kinoshita as the guest editor. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Dr. Hitoshi Tomaru for providing the δ18OH2O and δDH2O data. This research was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas KANAME project. Moreover, during the writing of this paper, the authors were supported by the International Research Hub Project for Climate Change and Coral Reef/Island Dynamics from the University of the Ryukyus.
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