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The mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz and the giant clams living there...

 
Luisport

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02/14/2013 07:57 AM

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The mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz and the giant clams living there...
The mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz and the giant clams living there
13/02/2013 (IPMA)


The mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz and the giant clams living there

News published in the journal "online audience"
By Teresa Firmino
07/02/2013 - 00:00


Gas emission areas on the seabed maintain biological ecosystems obtain nutrients through the synthesis of chemical elements, instead of sunlight. This is the case of certain clams.

Against Portugal and Spain, several thousand feet deep, the floor of the Gulf of Cadiz is littered with mud volcanoes. To these volcanoes now join three others, one of them covered with giant clams. But we heard right? Mud volcanoes and giant clams?

That's right: these volcanoes spew clay materials, often laden gases from the interior of the Earth, essentially methane, which then gets trapped in water molecules frozen sediments. The gas hydrates, a combination of methane and other gases trapped in ice crystals are known at sea since the 1970s. In the Gulf of Cadiz, its detection, and soon with gas hydrates, took place in 1999 in the Moroccan.

In this dispatch, U.S. scientists, were Portuguese, hence one of the volcanoes is called Northwind. The following year, was located in the first Portuguese waters, the Bonjardim.

The Gulf of Cadiz is a border zone of tectonic plates, in this case, African and Eurasian plates are colliding. Because of this compression, amount to the seabed clay sediments existing in depth, bringing gas and behold these volcanoes arise. There are 50 confirmed, but now a Portuguese team reveals that the area of mud volcanoes extends farther west than the studies pointed in the direction of Portuguese waters.

The three new mud volcanoes, at 4400 meters, are located about 180 kilometers southwest of Cape St. Vincent. Its discovery was the result of a campaign, the German ship Meteor in February and March 2012 for the SWIMglo project, coordinated by geologist Peter Terrinha, the Portuguese Institute for Ocean and Atmosphere.

We investigate the fault lines that connect the area to the Gulf of Cadiz and the Azores occurrence of biological communities typical gas emission zones on the seabed. The gas hydrates not left out: "They are a potential future energy resource, because a cubic centimeter of gas hydrates corresponds to 160 cubic centimeters of gas.'re A highly concentrated form of gas," said one of the team members, Luís Pinheiro geophysicist at the University of Aveiro. "For now, we are identifying areas where there are deposits. The next step is to do detailed work, to see whether they are exploitable."

In 2004, when mapping to the sea, with the ship D. Carlos I, the Portuguese Navy, they discovered two flaws aligned - the SWIM, the English abbreviation of southwestern Iberian margin. The longest is 600 kilometers long and is on the edge of another major flaw: the Glory, which then continues to the Azores. Over the SWIM faults have been found mud volcanoes, but that fact is not strange because they pass through a zone of deep sediment accumulation - the prism acrecionário the Gulf of Cadiz.

What is the connection between geologic faults SWIM and Glory? How is the channeling of hydrothermal fluids along these faults? Questions on which Peter Terrinha and colleagues seek answers.

But here the geology goes hand in hand with biology: the chemical elements in the fluids on the seafloor are used by microorganisms to extract the necessary nutrients. Instead of photosynthesis, in which sunlight is used to obtain energy for synthesis of chemicals. Chemosynthetic communities of organisms that exist along those graben is another of the questions of the project.

But if chemosynthetic communities of the Gulf of Cadiz live in cold environments, the Azores are in other hydrothermal vents, hot water loaded with gas and metals up and around there are oases of life, such as mussels and prawns. "We went to see if there was some continuity between mud volcanoes, emission sources of cold fluids, and hydrothermal vents of the Azores", explains biologist Marina Cunha, University of Aveiro, who participated in the campaign. "As all these ecosystems are based on chemosynthetic production, we try to find a common thread that allows to know how they are related. Such failures bind a zone of mud volcanism at a hydrothermal zone."

Motorways biological

Now the three mud volcanoes are along the faults SWIM, only now far prism acrecionário. "Mud volcanoes in acrecionários many prisms. Volcanoes that are already found in a different tectonic environment and that's surprising," notes Peter Terrinha.

"Per itself, these flaws can be mud volcanoes and methane-laden fluids. This was not known. Might serve as a highway for communities [biological] crossed the ocean through the seafloor," says geologist, referring it has been shown that a stretch of this route is outside the prism acrecionário.

"So far we have not found many species in common, but at the level of genera have more similarities, which is interesting in evolutionary terms. Seems we had something in common between the two types of communities, which have evolved to the emergence of different species one place and another, "adds Marina Cunha. "The way organisms adapt to environmental conditions is interesting to discover new biological processes that act on enzymes and other bioactive compounds that may have applications later."

It was in the crater of a volcano discovered on the expedition that saw giant clams, six inches long. Marina Cunha thinks they are a species that exists off Angola in chemosynthetic zones near oil and gas, and there are up to 15 centimeters. "They have symbiotic bacteria in the gills, which use the chemical energy of fluids to produce food for these organisms"

In samples collected shaft another species of clams, the "Acharax gadirae" which is buried in sediments. Already caught other volcanoes, Marina Cunha and her colleagues had described as new to science in 2011. Also the worms are present in the new mud volcanoes, with the collection of species "Spirobrachia tripeira" and "Bobmarleya gadensis", which are also described by the team as new Marina Cunha in 2008. They also have symbiotic bacteria, only in the gut, and live inside tubes they build.

If you are thinking that the clams would make a good meal, forget it. In such an environment can only be toxic.

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Luisport (OP)

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02/14/2013 08:04 AM

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Re: The mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz and the giant clams living there...
i just discover that offshore of Algarve and Spain coast is full of mud volcanos...
Anonymous Coward
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Russian Federation
02/14/2013 08:09 AM
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Re: The mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz and the giant clams living there...
i just discover that offshore of Algarve and Spain coast is full of mud volcanos...
 Quoting: Luisport


Wow, this features really very intersting and as I generally common for similar regions. In Black sea also a lot mud volcanos along north coast (I know at least 15- 20 was found)bump
Luisport (OP)

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02/14/2013 08:29 AM

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Re: The mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz and the giant clams living there...
i just discover that offshore of Algarve and Spain coast is full of mud volcanos...
 Quoting: Luisport


Wow, this features really very intersting and as I generally common for similar regions. In Black sea also a lot mud volcanos along north coast (I know at least 15- 20 was found)bump
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 34384239


it's strange isn't it? I never read nothing about it here
BRIEF
Rebel with morals

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02/14/2013 08:35 AM

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Re: The mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz and the giant clams living there...
Giant clams, for a giant bowl of clam chowder? YUM!
With freedom comes responsibility.

Heterosexual pride!

Briefcut4892
Luisport (OP)

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02/14/2013 08:54 AM

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Re: The mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz and the giant clams living there...
i just discover that offshore of Algarve and Spain coast is full of mud volcanos...
 Quoting: Luisport


Wow, this features really very intersting and as I generally common for similar regions. In Black sea also a lot mud volcanos along north coast (I know at least 15- 20 was found)bump
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 34384239


maby this mud volcanos are the sign for active or reactivation collision margins
Luisport (OP)

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02/14/2013 09:08 AM

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Re: The mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz and the giant clams living there...
bump
Luisport (OP)

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02/14/2013 09:50 AM

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Re: The mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz and the giant clams living there...


Last Edited by Luisport on 02/14/2013 09:51 AM