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Physical properties of methane-enriched plumes along the Hikurangi margin of New Zealand: Thoughts on sources and life spans of water column methane anomalies
McGinnis, D. F.; Faure, K.; Schneider von Deimling, J.; Greinert, J. (2008). Physical properties of methane-enriched plumes along the Hikurangi margin of New Zealand: Thoughts on sources and life spans of water column methane anomalies. Geophys. Res. Abstr. 10(EGU2008-A-09398)
In: Geophysical Research Abstracts. Copernicus: Katlenburg-Lindau. ISSN 1029-7006; e-ISSN 1607-7962
Peer reviewed article  

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Documenttype: Samenvatting

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  • McGinnis, D. F.
  • Faure, K.
  • Schneider von Deimling, J.
  • Greinert, J., meer

Abstract
    We explored methane distribution and physical mixing processes at active areas with CTD measurements utilizing a methane sensor combined with discrete water samples collected in Niskin bottles (24 bottle carrousel). Evidence of a methane plume injection was obtained during a CTD cast. The plume injection is thought to be the result of a vertical advective flow driven by a source of buoyancy (e.g., heat flux, bubbles, high dissolved methane concentration). Thorpe scale analyses on the high-resolution temperature data allow us to locate turbulent overturns and the associated small- to large-scale temperature inversions. Thorpe displacement analysis shows substantial overturns of ca. 30 m at around 720 m depth that perfectly correspond with a large peak (ca. 600 nM) of methane. This is likely the final intrusion depth of a methane plume originating from the sea floor. However, it is inconclusive which buoyancy source(s) are driving the plume (e.g. heat flux, bubbles, etc.). In the corresponding profiles, a completely well-mixed ca. 35 m thick layer (in T and Sal) is observed at this location. This further suggests a local buoyancy source. Substantial energy input is required to maintain such a well-mixed structure. In absence of a supporting energy source, this signal would be vertically diffusively smeared within several days (t = z/Kz), and much faster horizontally. Energy balances suggest that the source and resulting upwelling are a dissolved methane-enriched thermal plume, as the number of bubbles required to produce such a plume and maintain the deep-mixed layer is too substantial.

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