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Graves C.A.,National Oceanography CentreUniversity of SouthamptonSouthampton | Steinle L.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science | Rehder G.,Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research | Connelly D.P.,Marine Geoscience | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans | Year: 2015

Widespread seepage of methane from seafloor sediments offshore Svalbard close to the landward limit of the gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ) may, in part, be driven by hydrate destabilization due to bottom water warming. To assess whether this methane reaches the atmosphere where it may contribute to further warming, we have undertaken comprehensive surveys of methane in seawater and air on the upper slope and shelf region. Near the GHSZ limit at ∼400 m water depth, methane concentrations are highest close to the seabed, reaching 825 nM. A simple box model of dissolved methane removal from bottom waters by horizontal and vertical mixing and microbially mediated oxidation indicates that ∼60% of methane released at the seafloor is oxidized at depth before it mixes with overlying surface waters. Deep waters are therefore not a significant source of methane to intermediate and surface waters; rather, relatively high methane concentrations in these waters (up to 50 nM) are attributed to isopycnal turbulent mixing with shelf waters. On the shelf, extensive seafloor seepage at <100 m water depth produces methane concentrations of up to 615 nM. The diffusive flux of methane from sea to air in the vicinity of the landward limit of the GHSZ is ∼4-20 μmol m-2 d-1, which is small relative to other Arctic sources. In support of this, analyses of mole fractions and the carbon isotope signature of atmospheric methane above the seeps do not indicate a significant local contribution from the seafloor source. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Coussens M.,National Oceanography CentreUniversity of SouthamptonSouthampton | Wall-Palmer D.,Earth and Environmental SciencesPlymouth UniversityPlymouth | Talling P.J.,National Oceanography CentreSouthampton | Watt S.F.L.,Earth and Environmental SciencesPlymouth UniversityPlymouth | And 17 more authors.
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems | Year: 2016

Hole U1395B, drilled southeast of Montserrat during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 340, provides a long (>1 Ma) and detailed record of eruptive and mass-wasting events (>130 discrete events). This record can be used to explore the temporal evolution in volcanic activity and landslides at an arc volcano. Analysis of tephra fall and volcaniclastic turbidite deposits in the drill cores reveals three heightened periods of volcanic activity on the island of Montserrat (∼930 to ∼900 ka, ∼810 to ∼760 ka, and ∼190 to ∼120 ka) that coincide with periods of increased volcano instability and mass-wasting. The youngest of these periods marks the peak in activity at the Soufrière Hills volcano. The largest flank collapse of this volcano (∼130 ka) occurred toward the end of this period, and two younger landslides also occurred during a period of relatively elevated volcanism. These three landslides represent the only large (>0.3 km3) flank collapses of the Soufrière Hills edifice, and their timing also coincides with periods of rapid sea level rise (>5 m/ka). Available age data from other island arc volcanoes suggest a general correlation between the timing of large landslides and periods of rapid sea level rise, but this is not observed for volcanoes in intraplate ocean settings. We thus infer that rapid sea level rise may modulate the timing of collapse at island arc volcanoes, but not in larger ocean-island settings. © 2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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