Collaborative work in Germany
By Pierre-Antoine Dessandier and Giuliana Panieri
On Vestnesa Ridge (NW Svalbard), we sampled sediment cores using the MeBo drill system and gravity cores during the cruise MSM57 (summer 2016) in two active pockmarks called Lunde and Lomvi (Fig. 1).
The X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Core Scanner allows us to measure most of the natural elements in sediment cores, in order to reconstruct the past environmental or climatic changes. XRF analyses were processed at MARUM (Bremen University), every cm on MeBo 125, 126 and 127 and on gravity cores 2 and 3, representing 4951 cm measured (Fig. 2).
The objective of these XRF analyses is to determine, based on the elements concentration, some particular periods characterized by elements peaks. These peaks are due to environmental or climatic changes at a regional scale and allow us to link chronological tie points between the different cores. We particularly focused on the elements Ca, Al, K, Zr, Ti, Fe, S and Sr. These elements could indicate changes in terrestrial sediment supply from various sources (e.g. Zr, Ti, K), periods of anoxia (e.g. Fe, S) or periods of strong biological production. (e.g. Ca) We are particularly interested in Sr/Ca peaks that indicate aragonite precipitation (fig. 3). The precipitation of aragonite in the sediments could be an indicator of the presence of methane derived authigenic carbonate, directly linked with strong emissions of methane in the past.
The other objective is to define the most interesting periods in terms of environmental changes and methane emissions to target these periods for future geochemical and micropaleontological studies (Fig. 4).
In these targeted samples, the assemblages of benthic foraminifera will be investigated to highlight climatic changes and methane emissions. The isotopic signal on their tests will be measured to provide crucial information on the frequency and strength of the methane emissions. We will particularly focus on the negative excursions of the d13C, indicative of methane emissions recorded by benthic foraminifera.
We thank to Gerhard Borhmann and all his team for this exciting collaboration. We also thank Ursula Röhl and Vera Lukies for their help at MARUM.