Lipid biomarker patterns of methane-seep microbialites from the Mesozoic convergent margin of California

Daniel Birgel, Volker Thiel, Kai Uwe Hinrichs, Marcus Elvert, Kathleen A. Campbell, Joachim Reitner, Jack Farmer, Jörn Peckmann

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Abstract

In order to reconstruct biogeochemical pathways at Mesozoic methane-seeps, a set of Late Jurassic (Tithonian) to Early Cretaceous (Aptian/Albian), 13C-depleted seep-limestones from forearc strata in western California were subjected to detailed molecular-isotopic biomarker analyses. Two of the microbial carbonate deposits are turbidite-hosted/fault-related, whereas one is hosted in serpentinite in a diapir-related setting. The limestones contain 13C-depleted archaeal lipid biomarkers such as crocetane (δ13C ∼ -80‰) and PMI (∼ -100‰), indicative of an involvement of anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) in carbonate precipitation. Isotopically depleted crocetane in the Tithonian sample represents the oldest reported occurrence of this compound at methane-seeps. In the set of samples, a series of strongly 13C-depleted, regular C21 to C24 isoprenoids possibly results from diagenetic alteration of archaeal sesterterpanylglycerol diethers as suggested by the presence of the putative intermediate 3,7,11,15,19-pentamethylicosanoic acid. 13C-depleted 17α(H),21β(H) and 17β(H),21α(H)-hopanes (C30-C34) with 22S- and 22R- isomer couplets (>C31) are present in all samples in distributions indicative of a moderate thermal maturity. Low δ13C values (-78‰ to -60‰) suggest that these are derived from anaerobic bacteria involved in AOM. Notably, 22S-isomers are consistently enriched in 13C relative to their 22R-counterparts. Our samples represent 70 myr of seepage activity and AOM along the Mesozoic margin of western California, filling the gap between the currently oldest methane-seep biomarker record from the Oxfordian (Late Jurassic) and the more widely recognised Cenozoic examples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1289-1302
Number of pages14
JournalOrganic Geochemistry
Volume37
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2006

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convergent margin
Methane
Biomarkers
biomarker
methane
lipid
Lipids
Tithonian
Calcium Carbonate
Carbonates
oxidation
Isomers
Oxidation
Jurassic
limestone
carbonate
thermal maturity
diapir
isoprenoid
Oxfordian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology

Cite this

Birgel, D., Thiel, V., Hinrichs, K. U., Elvert, M., Campbell, K. A., Reitner, J., ... Peckmann, J. (2006). Lipid biomarker patterns of methane-seep microbialites from the Mesozoic convergent margin of California. Organic Geochemistry, 37(10), 1289-1302. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orggeochem.2006.02.004

Lipid biomarker patterns of methane-seep microbialites from the Mesozoic convergent margin of California. / Birgel, Daniel; Thiel, Volker; Hinrichs, Kai Uwe; Elvert, Marcus; Campbell, Kathleen A.; Reitner, Joachim; Farmer, Jack; Peckmann, Jörn.

In: Organic Geochemistry, Vol. 37, No. 10, 10.2006, p. 1289-1302.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Birgel, D, Thiel, V, Hinrichs, KU, Elvert, M, Campbell, KA, Reitner, J, Farmer, J & Peckmann, J 2006, 'Lipid biomarker patterns of methane-seep microbialites from the Mesozoic convergent margin of California', Organic Geochemistry, vol. 37, no. 10, pp. 1289-1302. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orggeochem.2006.02.004
Birgel, Daniel ; Thiel, Volker ; Hinrichs, Kai Uwe ; Elvert, Marcus ; Campbell, Kathleen A. ; Reitner, Joachim ; Farmer, Jack ; Peckmann, Jörn. / Lipid biomarker patterns of methane-seep microbialites from the Mesozoic convergent margin of California. In: Organic Geochemistry. 2006 ; Vol. 37, No. 10. pp. 1289-1302.
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