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Title: Abiotic synthesis of graphite in hydrothermal vents

Abstract

Deciphering the origin, age, and composition of deep marine organic carbon remains a challenge in understanding the dynamics of the marine carbon cycle. In particular, the composition of aged organic carbon and what allows its persistence in the deep ocean and in sediment is unresolved. Here, we observe that both high and low temperature hydrothermal vents at the 9° 50' N; 104° 17.5W East Pacific Rise (EPR) vent field are a source for (sub) micron-sized graphite particles. We demonstrate that commonly applied analytical techniques for quantification of organic carbon detect graphite. These analyses thereby classify graphite as either dissolved or particulate organic carbon, depending on the particle size and filtration method, and overlook its relevance as a carbon source to the deep ocean. Settling velocity calculations indicate the potential for these (sub)micron particles to become entrained in the buoyant plume and distributed far from the vent fields. Furthermore, our observations provide direct evidence for hydrothermal vents acting as a source of old carbon to the deep ocean.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [3]
  1. Univ. of Delaware, Lewes, DE (United States). School of Marine Science and Policy; Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States). Int. Ocean Discovery Program
  2. Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ. (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA (United States); Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States). Dept. of Oceanography
  3. Univ. of Delaware, Lewes, DE (United States). School of Marine Science and Policy
  4. Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ. (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Subsurface Science and Technology Group, Energy and Environment Directorate
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1575403
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-149325
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES

Citation Formats

Estes, Emily R., Berti, Debora, Coffey, Nicole R., Hochella, Jr., Michael F., Wozniak, Andrew S., and Luther, III, George W. Abiotic synthesis of graphite in hydrothermal vents. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-13216-z.
Estes, Emily R., Berti, Debora, Coffey, Nicole R., Hochella, Jr., Michael F., Wozniak, Andrew S., & Luther, III, George W. Abiotic synthesis of graphite in hydrothermal vents. United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-13216-z.
Estes, Emily R., Berti, Debora, Coffey, Nicole R., Hochella, Jr., Michael F., Wozniak, Andrew S., and Luther, III, George W. Fri . "Abiotic synthesis of graphite in hydrothermal vents". United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-13216-z. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1575403.
@article{osti_1575403,
title = {Abiotic synthesis of graphite in hydrothermal vents},
author = {Estes, Emily R. and Berti, Debora and Coffey, Nicole R. and Hochella, Jr., Michael F. and Wozniak, Andrew S. and Luther, III, George W.},
abstractNote = {Deciphering the origin, age, and composition of deep marine organic carbon remains a challenge in understanding the dynamics of the marine carbon cycle. In particular, the composition of aged organic carbon and what allows its persistence in the deep ocean and in sediment is unresolved. Here, we observe that both high and low temperature hydrothermal vents at the 9° 50' N; 104° 17.5W East Pacific Rise (EPR) vent field are a source for (sub) micron-sized graphite particles. We demonstrate that commonly applied analytical techniques for quantification of organic carbon detect graphite. These analyses thereby classify graphite as either dissolved or particulate organic carbon, depending on the particle size and filtration method, and overlook its relevance as a carbon source to the deep ocean. Settling velocity calculations indicate the potential for these (sub)micron particles to become entrained in the buoyant plume and distributed far from the vent fields. Furthermore, our observations provide direct evidence for hydrothermal vents acting as a source of old carbon to the deep ocean.},
doi = {10.1038/s41467-019-13216-z},
journal = {Nature Communications},
number = 1,
volume = 10,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {11}
}

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