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Hydrothermal alteration of organic matter at spreading centers
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geology and Geochemistry.
1998 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Alteration of organic matter, mainly amino acids, at sub-seafloor hydrothermal conditions has been investigated by performing laboratory experiments and by studying deep-sea sediments from hydrothermally active areas on the northern Juan de Fuca Ridge, northeast Pacific Ocean.

Quaternary sediments from Middle Valley and the eastern flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge recovered during the Ocean Drilling Program Legs 139 and 168 have been analyzed for total hydrolyzable amino acid concentrations, individual amino acid abundances and stereochemistry in order to evaluate the effects of hydrothermal stress on the decomposition of sedimentary amino acids. In near surface sediments, amino acids account for up to 3.3% of the total organic carbon content and up to 12% of the total nitrogen content. The non-protein amino acid b-alanine and g-aminobutyric acid become increasingly abundant with depth in low temperature holes (Leg 168) as a result of enzymatic decarboxylation of aspartic acid and glutamic acid, respectively. The decomposition of amino acid in high temperature holes (Leg 139) is enhanced with depth and the amino acid patterns indicates that most amino acids are incorporated into geopolymers and that condensation results in increased stability of some amino acids.

The effects of low temperature hydrothermal activity on microbially mediated organic matter diagenesis were studied by comparing depth concentration profiles of interstitial sulfate and methane of Holes 1023A, 1024B, 1025B and 1028A, ODP Leg 168. Diffusional exchange between sulfate-rich basement fluids and pore-waters increases the interstitial sulfate concentrations with depth below local sulfate minima caused by bacterial sulfate reduction. The effects of diffusional processes on pore-water chemistry in the sediment column is reflected by the inhibition of methane production and is largely dependent on sediment thickness.

The decomposition of alanine, leucine, aspartic acid and serine in aqueous solutions was studied at 200oC and 50 bar with the purpose of evaluating the effect dissolved oxygen on decomposition rates. The redox buffering mineral assemblage pyrite-pyrrhotite-magnetite was used to constrain the oxygen fugacity to geologically realistic values. Comparisons between results obtained from buffered and nonbuffered runs show that the decomposition is faster for most amino acids but serine in nonbuffered experiments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Geology and Geochemistry, Stockholm University , 1998. , 18 p.
Meddelanden från Stockholms universitets institution för geologi och geokemi, ISSN 1101-1599 ; 295
National Category
Chemical Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-37114ISBN: 91-7153-694-9OAI: diva2:293010
Public defence
1998-02-04, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Frescati, 10:00 (English)
Härtill 4 uppsatserAvailable from: 2010-02-10 Created: 2010-02-10 Last updated: 2010-11-09Bibliographically approved

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