Nöthen, K; Kasten, S (2011): Pore water (SO4, CH4, alkalinity, HS-, Ca, Sr, Mg, Ba) and solid phase (Ca, Sr, Mg, Ba) data measured in pockmark sediments of the Northern Congo Fan. doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.763522, Supplement to:Nöthen, Kerstin; Kasten, Sabine (2011): Reconstructing changes in seep activity by means of pore water and solid phase Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios in pockmark sediments of the Northern Congo Fan. Marine Geology, 287(1-4), 1-13, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2011.06.008
This study focuses on the vertical distribution of authigenic carbonates (aragonite and high Mg-calcite) in the form of finely disseminated precipitates as well as massive carbonate concretions present in and above gas hydrate bearing sediments of the Northern Congo Fan. Analyses of Ca, Mg, Sr and Ba in pore water, bulk sediments and authigenic carbonates were carried out on gravity cores taken from three pockmark structures (Hydrate Hole, Black Hole and Worm Hole). In addition, a background core was retrieved from an area not influenced by fluid seepage. Pore water Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios are used to reveal the current depths of carbonate formation as well as the mineralogy of the authigenic precipitates. The Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios of bulk sediments and massive carbonate concretions were applied to infer the presence and depth distribution of authigenic aragonite and high Mg-calcite, based on the approach presented by Bayon et al. [Bayon et al. (2007). Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios in Niger Delta sediments: Implications for authigenic carbonate genesis in cold seep environments. Marine Geology 241(1-4), 93-109, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2007.03.007]. We show that the approach developed by Bayon et al. (2007) for sediments of cold seeps of the Niger Delta is also suitable to identify the mineralogy of authigenic carbonates in pockmark sediments of the Congo Deep-Sea Fan. We expand this approach by combining interstitial with solid phase Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios, which demonstrate that high Mg-calcite is the predominant authigenic carbonate that currently forms at the sulfate/methane reaction zone (SMRZ). This is the first study which investigates both solid phase and pore water signatures typical for either aragonite or high Mg-calcite precipitation for the same sediment cores and thus is able to identify active and fossil carbonate precipitation events. At all investigated pockmark sites fossil horizons of the SMRZ were deduced from high Mg-calcite located above and below the current depths of the SMRZ. Additionally, aragonite enrichments typical for high seepage rates were detected close to the sediment surface at these sites. However, active precipitation of aragonite as indicated by pore water characteristics only occurs at the Black Hole site. Dissolved and solid phase Ba concentrations were used to estimate the time the SMRZ was fixed at the current depths of the diagenetic barite fronts. The combined pore water and solid phase elemental ratios (Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca) and Ba concentrations allow the reconstruction of past changes in methane seepage at the investigated pockmark sites. At the Hydrate Hole and Worm Hole sites the time of high methane seepage was estimated to have ceased at least 600 yr BP. In contrast, a more recent change from a high flux to a more dormant stage must have occurred at the Black Hole site as evidenced by active aragonite precipitation at the sediment surface and a lack of diagenetic Ba enrichments.