Methane Production in the Interstitial Waters of Sulfate-Depleted Marine Sediments

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Science  27 Sep 1974:
Vol. 185, Issue 4157, pp. 1167-1169
DOI: 10.1126/science.185.4157.1167


Methane in the interstitial waters of anoxic Long Island Sound sediments does not reach appreciable concentrations until about 90 percent of seawater sulfate is removed by sulfate-reducing bacteria. This is in agreement with laboratory studies of anoxic marine sediments sealed in jars, which indicate that methane production does not occur until dissolved sulfate is totally exhausted. Upward diffusion of methane or its production in sulfate-free microenvironments, or both, can explain the observed coexistence of measurable concentrations of methane and sulfate in the upper portions of anoxic sediments.

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