Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Deep sea reveals linkage between earthquake and carbon cycle

07.02.2019

In order to understand the global carbon cycle, deep-sea exploration is essential, an international team led by geologists from Innsbruck concludes. For the first time, they succeeded in quantifying the amount of organic carbon transported into the deep sea by a single tectonic event, the giant Tohoku-oki earthquake in 2011. The results have now been published in Scientific Reports.

An international team led by the Innsbruck geologists Arata Kioka, Tobias Schwestermann, Jasper Moernaut, and Michael Strasser could quantify for the first time the entire trench-wide volume of marine sediments that were remobilized by the magnitude 9 Tohoku-oki earthquake in 2011 and transported into the up to 8 km deep Japan Trench.


The German Sonne is one of the best technically equipped research vessels currently available.

Universität Hamburg/LDF/V M.Hartig/Meyer Werft

This was facilitated within a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and in collaboration with researchers from Geological Survey of Japan of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology), The City University of New York, MARUM (Centre for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen) and ETH Zurich, through integrating analyses of samples and data collected during several offshore research expeditions conducted between 2012 and 2016.

Along with carbon content measurements, they could estimate the total carbon mass of more than 1 Tg (1 teragram = 1 million tons), triggered by one single tectonic event and transported to these water depths. "The results surprised us and our colleagues," said Tobias Schwestermann, PhD candidate at the Department of Geology at the University of Innsbruck.

"This is much higher than expected from carbon fluxes observed in other deep-sea trench systems worldwide," continues Schwestermann. Another example clearly illustrates the extent of the result: The Ganges-Brahmaputra, one of the world's largest river system, transports about 4 Tg of carbon per year to the ocean.

The fact that only one single tectonic event can cause about a quarter of this carbon flux, implying a potential global significance, highlights the importance of the carbon cycle in the deep sea. "The results show that when we talk about the global carbon cycle, we also have to think about the deepest and most-underexplored deep-sea trenches of our world’s oceans in the future," says Michael Strasser, Professor at the Department of Geology.

First trench-wide quantification of organic carbon mass in the deep sea

Worldwide, there are only sixteen regions with water depths of more than 6 km. "All in all, the deep sea is arguably even less explored than the moon. This is exactly what fascinates us," says Arata Kioka, postdoc at the Department of Geology.

The first trench-wide quantification of organic carbon mass at such water depths was enabled by various measurement methods, some of which were used for the first time in the deep sea.

"One of the research vessels, the German Sonne, was also decisive for the results. It is one of the technically best equipped research vessels currently available," says Arata Kioka. First, the team carried out high-resolution bathymetric surveys and sub-seafloor structure imaging. To analyze the carbon content, new sediment cores were taken from the Japan Trench.

Continuing project

The latest results motivate the geologists to undertake further research expeditions to investigate the deep sea even further. The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) will soon give them the opportunity to do so.

This is an international marine research collaboration that explores Earth's history and dynamics using ocean-going research platforms to recover data recorded in seafloor sediments and rocks and to monitor subseafloor environments.

Michael Strasser is the lead proponent of an IODP proposal, which will be implemented in 2020, collecting long cores from the Japan Trench to study past earthquakes and their impact on the evolution and processes in deep sea trenches.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Strasser
Institut für Geologie
Universität Innsbruck
Telefon: +43 512 507 54213
E-Mail: michael.strasser@uibk.ac.at

Originalpublikation:

Megathrust earthquake drives drastic organic carbon supply to the hadal trench. A. Kioka, T. Schwestermann, J. Moernaut, K. Ikehara, T. Kanamatsu, C. M. McHugh, C. dos Santos Ferreira, G. Wiemer, N. Haghipour, A. J. Kopf, T. I. Eglinton & M. Strasser. Scientific Reports.
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-38834-x

Lisa Marchl, MSc. | Universität Innsbruck
Further information:
http://www.uibk.ac.at

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Upwards with the “bubble shuttle”: How sea floor microbes get involved with methane reduction in the water column
27.05.2020 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht An international team including scientists from MARUM discovered ongoing and future tropical diversity decline
26.05.2020 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New measurement exacerbates old problem

Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.

Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Perfect optics through light scattering

02.06.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

The digital construction site: A smarter way of building with mobile robots

02.06.2020 | Architecture and Construction

Process behind the organ-specific elimination of chromosomes in plants unveiled

02.06.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>