U/Th dating of cold-seep carbonates: An initial comparison

Dong Feng, Harry H. Roberts, Hai Cheng, Jörn Peckmann, Gerhard Bohrmann, R. Lawrence Edwards, Duofu Chen

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51 Scopus citations


Authigenic carbonates from hydrocarbon seeps are unique archives of past seepage and associated environmental parameters. In order to constrain the ages of a set of seep carbonates and the time involved in carbonate formation, we applied Uranium/Thorium (U/Th) dating to samples from the Gulf of Mexico, the Congo Fan, and the Black Sea. The resulting U/Th ages indicate that environmental conditions must have been favorable for enhanced methane-rich fluid seepage during the time intervals of 53.4 to 1.7 ka. BP for the Gulf of Mexico and 45.5 to 3.0. ka. BP for the Congo Fan. The seep carbonates from the Black Sea formed at 1.6 to 1.1. ka BP. Our results suggest that enhanced fluid flow during these time intervals was closely related to 1) sea-level variations associated with glacial/interglacial cycles and 2) environmental alterations in the course of Late Quaternary climate change, including variations in bottom-water temperatures that affected the stability of gas hydrate reservoirs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2055-2060
Number of pages6
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Issue number21-23
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Contract no. 1435-01-05-39187 and partially supported by the NSFC ( 40906031 , 40725011 , and U0733003 ) and 973 Program ( 2009CB219506 ). Additional financial support was provided by the “ Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft ” through the DFG-Excellence Cluster MARUM, Bremen. The Gulf of Mexico seep carbonate samples were obtained from cruises sponsored by the MMS through cooperative agreements with LSU. We appreciate the thoughtful and constructive comments provided by Dr. G. Bayon (Ifremer), which improved the manuscript. This paper is contribution No. IS-1218 from GIGCAS.


  • Authigenic carbonate
  • Black Sea
  • Cold seeps
  • Congo Fan
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • U/Th dating


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