The Taixinan Basin is one of the most potential gas hydrate bearing areas in the South China Sea and abundant gas hydrates have been discovered during expedition in 2013. In this study, geochemical and microbial methods are combinedly used to characterize the sediments from a shallow piston Core DH_CL_11 (gas hydrate free) and a gas hydrate-bearing drilling Core GMGS2-16 in this basin. Geochemical analyses indicate that anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) which is speculated to be linked to the ongoing gas hydrate dissociation is taking place in Core DH_CL_11 at deep. For Core GMGS2-16, AOM related to past episodes of methane seepage are suggested to dominate during its diagenetic process; while the relatively enriched δ18O bulk-sediment values indicate that methane involved in AOM might be released from the " episodic dissociation” of gas hydrate. Microbial analyses indicate that the predominant phyla in the bacterial communities are Firmicutes and Proteobacteria (Gammaproteobacteria and Epsilonproteobacteria), while the dominant taxa in the archaeal communities are Marine_Benthic_Group_B (MBGB), Halobacteria, Thermoplasmata, Methanobacteria, Methanomicrobia, Group C3 and MCG. Under parallel experimental operations, comparable dominant members (Firmicutes and MBGB) are found in the piston Core DH_CL_11 and the near surface layer of the long drilling Core GMGS2-16. Moreover, these members have been found predominant in other known gas hydrate bearing cores, and the dominant of MBGB has even been found significantly related to gas hydrate occurrence. Therefore, a high possibility for the existing of gas hydrate underlying Core DH_CL_11 is inferred, which is consistent with the geochemical analyses. In all, combined geochemical and microbiological analyses are more informative in characterizing sediments from gas hydrate-associated areas in the South China Sea.
Junli GONG, Xiaoming SUN, Zhiyong LIN, Hongfeng LU, Yongjun LU. Geochemical and microbial characters of sediment from the gas hydrate area in the Taixinan Basin, South China Sea[J]. ACTA OCEANOLOGICA SINICA, 2017, 36(9): 52-64. doi: 10.1007/s13131-017-1111-2.