ARTYKUŁY PRZEGLĄDOWE Współczesne głębokomorskie budowle węglanowe – nieznany świat podmorskich oaz

Michał Jakubowicz


Modern deep-water carbonate buildups – the unknown world of submarine oases.
A b s t r a c t. Deep-marine carbonate buildups constitute one of the most spectacular and enigmatic features found on modern seafloors. Despite some characteristics shared by all the deep-marine carbonate buildups, they represent, in fact, several distinct types, which differ in terms of their geneses, as well as sedimentary, biotic and geochemical features. These structures can be roughly divided into hydrocarbon seep limestones, carbonate-built hydrothermal vents and deep-water coral reefs. The former group include carbonate concretions, lenses, mud mounds and mud volcanoes forming as a result of decrease in alkalinity, caused by an activity of methane-oxidizing microbes. The rare examples of hydrothermal-derived limestone columns, in turn, grow in response to mixing of ambient, cold seawater and warm, Ca2+-rich fluids originating from peridotite massifs. In contrast, growth of the deep-water coral reefs appears to be stimulated largely by hydrological and bathymetric constraints, whereas a potential input of fluid seepage is rather of subordinate importance in diagenetic lithification of these structures. Surprisingly, studies on deep-water carbonates may turn out to be relevant also for understanding the shallow-water carbonate factories, providing evidence, that abiotic factors are more important in marine limestone precipitation than previously thought.