Cretaceous Cold-Seep Communities and Methane-Derived Carbonates in the Canadian Arctic

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Science  07 Apr 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4900, pp. 53-56
DOI: 10.1126/science.244.4900.53


Lower Cretaceous cold-seep fossil assemblages have been found in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Serpulid worm tubes and bivalves are most abundant in these communities; in contrast, fossils are scarce in the surrounding strata. The fossils are contained in an isotopically light (δ13C = -25 to -50 per mil) carbonate rock groundmass that is interpreted to have formed from bacterial oxidation of methane. The rocks were deposited at intermediate depth (≤400 meters) in a cold marine environment; nearby normal faults may have provided a conduit for seeping methane and hydrogen sulfide needed to fuel chemosynthetic bacteria, and in turn, the higher life forms.

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