Microbial impact on the isotope composition of methane in both thermal and hyperalkaline waters of central Greece

Risultato della ricerca: Conference contribution


Introduction The different origins of methane can be subdivided in biogenic (either directly produced by microbial activity or deriving by decay of organic matter at T > 150°C) and abiogenic (from pure inorganic reactions). Among the latter, one of the most debated origins comes from serpentinization processes of ultramafic rocks in ophiolitic sequences at low temperatures (T < 80 °C). Moreover, further secondary processes (diffusion, inorganic or microbial oxidation, etc.) may also contribute and thus mask the original chemical and/or isotope composition. Primary and secondary processes acting on CH4 can be recognised mainly through its isotope (d13C and d2H) composition and the ratio between CH4 and C2+C3 light hydrocarbons [Bernard et al. 1978; Schoell 1980]. Microorganisms may be involved in the methane cycle not only as active producers but also as consumers. Methane oxidizing bacteria (or methanotrophs) are microorganisms with the ability to use methane as the only source of carbon for energy and biomass production. Methanotrophs are ubiquitous and play an important role in the global carbon cycle, acting as a natural filter between the subsoil and the atmosphere. They were isolated from several environments such as soils, wetlands, freshwater, marine sediments, water columns, groundwater, rice paddies, and peat bogs [Murrell and Jetten, 2009]. Some species were adapted also at extreme environments characterized by high temperature (up to 81.6 °C), extremely low or high pHs (1.5-11) or even anaerobic conditions. Due to the fact that methanotrophs metabolize preferentially light isotopes, biologic methane oxidation brings sometimes to extremely positive d13C and d2H values [Cadieux et al., 2016]. The Greek territory belongs to the geodynamically active Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt. As such, it shows intense seismic activity, active volcanic systems and areas of enhanced geothermal fluxes. One of these areas is the Sperchios Basin and the northern part of Euboea Island in central Greece, where thermal manifestations are widespread [D’Alessandro et al., 2014]. The complex geology of Greece includes also two important parallel running ophiolitic belts, with the Othrys Massif (central Greece) belonging to the westernmost of them. In and around this wide ophiolite outcrop, some cold hyperalkaline and some hypothermal (T < 30°C) alkaline waters are present. In the present paper we discuss data about chemistry and methane isotope composition of bubbling or dissolved gases in both thermal springs and hyperalkaline springs of Central Greece. Sampling and Analytical Methods Free bubbling gas samples were taken using an inverted funnel. All free gas samples were stored in Pyrex bottles with two vacuum stopcocks. Samples for dissolved gas analyses were collected in glass vials sealed underwater. In the laboratory, the chemical analyses were carried out by gaschromatography (Agilent 7890B GC System) using Ar as the carrier gas. Dissolved gases were extracted after equilibrium was reached at constant temperature with a host-gas (high-purity argon) injected in the sample bottle. The measurement precision was better than ±5% for common gases and ±10% for trace gases such as the alkanes. The chemical composition of the dissolved gas phase was obtained from the gas-chromatographic analyses taking into account the solubility coefficients (Bunsen coefficient “β”, ccgas/mlwater STP) of each gas specie, the volume of gas extracted and the volume of the water sample (details in Capasso and Inguaggiato, [1998] and Liotta and Martelli, [2012])
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospite15th International Conference on Gas Geochemistry ICGG15
Numero di pagine5
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2019

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