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Research Technical Report

Hydrocarbon Geochemistry Of Cold Seeps In The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Lorenson, T.D., K.A. Kvenvolden, F.D.Hostettler, R.J. Rosenbauer, D.L. Orange, and J.B. Martin (2002)

Marine Geology 181:285-304.


Samples from four geographically and tectonically discrete cold seeps named Clam Flat, Clamfield, Horseshoe Scarp South, and Tubeworm City, within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary were analyzed for their hydrocarbon content. The sediment contains gaseous hydrocarbons and CO2, as well as high molecular weight aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons with various combinations of thermogenic and biogenic contributions from petroleum, marine, and terrigenous sources. Of particular interest is the cold seep site at Clamfield which is characterized by the presence of thermogenic hydrocarbons including oil that can likely be correlated with oil-saturated strata at Majors Creek near Davenport, CA, USA. At Clam Flat, the evidence for thermogenic hydrocarbons is equivocal. At Horseshoe Scarp South and Tubeworm City, hydrocarbon gases, mainly methane, are likely microbial in origin. These varied sources of hydrocarbon gases highlight the diverse chemical systems that appear at cold seep communities.

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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