Petroleum-derived authigenic carbonates of the Louisiana continental slope

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Conference Proceeding

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Research on carbonate sediments and mound-like buildups on the continental slope off Louisiana using seismic and echo-sounder profiles were carried out, suggesting the presence of abundant hydrocarbons in shallow subsurface sediments and in the water column. The significance of a substantial carbonate component to the sedimentary architecture of the Mississippi delta complex is analyzed. It is found that isotopic values of the authigenic carbonate (δ-C-13 values to -48 o/oo PDB) reflect a link with hydrocarbons. Microbial oxidation of methane and heavier hydrocarbons provides a source of CO in interstitial waters and triggers chemical precipitation of carbonates (primarily aragonite and Mg-calcite) characterized by extreme depletion of the C-13 isotope. 2

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