Calcium carbonate dissolution rates in hydrothermal vent fields of the Guaymas Basin
Analysis of bivalve shell fragments that were embedded in epoxy blocks, mounted on titanium stakes, and deployed by DSRV Alvin at 5 sites in the Southern Trough of the Guaymas Basin (27°00′N, 111°24.55′W; depth 2012 m) indicates significant variation of calcium carbonate dissolution in in situ exposures of more than 900 days. Arrays of shell fragments of six bivalve species (i.e., Bathymodiolus thermophilus, Calyptogena magnifica, Calyptogena sp., Corbicula fluminea, Crassostrea virginica and Mytilus edulis) were positioned −17 cm, −7 cm and −2.5 cm below the sediment-water interface and 2.5 cm, 7 cm and 17 cm above the sediment-water interface in hydrothermal vent fields of the basin. Maximum dissolution rates for both calcite (mean = 86 μm/yr) and aragonite (mean = 312 μm/yr) were found in epoxy blocks located at the deepest point sampled in the sediment column (depth = 17 cm). Minimum dissolution rates of calcite and aragonite were found 7 cm (mean = 26 μm/yr) and 2.5 cm (mean = 96 μm/yr) above the sediment-water interface, respectively. Intermediate rates of dissolution were recorded 17 cm above the sediment-water interface (mean = 40 μm/yr for calcite and 126 μm/yr for aragonite). Mean rates of aragonite dissolution ranged from 59 μm/yr (site 5; clam area) to 227 μm/yr (site 3; clam area), and those of calcite dissolution ranged from 13 μm/yr (site 3; clam area) to 94 μm/yr (site 4; bacterial mat area). Dissolution rates were consistently highest in the bacterial mat area (site 4; mean = 94 μm/yr for calcite and 223 μm/yr for aragonite). Rates of calcium carbonate dissolution reported here for hydrothermal vent fields of the Guaymas Basin compare favorably with those of Rose Garden (Galapagos Rift) and 21N (East Pacific Rise) hydrothermal vent sites. These results have important implications for assessing biological rate processes in deep-sea hydrothermal vent environments.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 1994
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