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Fossil evidence for serpentinization fluids fueling chemosynthetic assemblages

Lartaud, F, Little, CTS, de Rafelis, M, Bayon, G, Dyment, J, Ildefonse, B, Gressier, V, Fouquet, Y, Gaill, F and Le Bris, N (2011) Fossil evidence for serpentinization fluids fueling chemosynthetic assemblages. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108 (19). 7698 - 7703 . ISSN 1091-6490

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Abstract

Among the deep-sea hydrothermal vent sites discovered in the past 30 years, Lost City on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) is remarkable both for its alkaline fluids derived from mantle rock serpentinization and the spectacular seafloor carbonate chimneys precipitated from these fluids. Despite high concentrations of reduced chemicals in the fluids, this unique example of a serpentinite-hosted hydrothermal system currently lacks chemosynthetic assemblages dominated by large animals typical of high-temperature vent sites. Here we report abundant specimens of chemosymbiotic mussels, associated with gastropods and chemosymbiotic clams, in approximately 100 kyr old Lost City-like carbonates from the MAR close to the Rainbow site (36 °N). Our finding shows that serpentinization-related fluids, unaffected by high-temperature hydrothermal circulation, can occur on-axis and are able to sustain high-biomass communities. The widespread occurrence of seafloor ultramafic rocks linked to likely long-range dispersion of vent species therefore offers considerably more ecospace for chemosynthetic fauna in the oceans than previously supposed.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds) > Institute of Geological Sciences (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2011 15:32
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:33
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1009383108
Status: Published
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
Identification Number: 10.1073/pnas.1009383108
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43151

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