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Journal Articles Nature Communications Year : 2020

Subduction hides high-pressure sources of energy that may feed the deep subsurface biosphere

Abstract

Geological sources of H2 and abiotic CH4 have had a critical role in the evolution of our planet and the development of life and sustainability of the deep subsurface biosphere. Yet the origins of these sources are largely unconstrained. Hydration of mantle rocks, or serpentinization, is widely recognized to produce H2 and favour the abiotic genesis of CH4 in shallow settings. However, deeper sources of H2 and abiotic CH4 are missing from current models, which mainly invoke more oxidized fluids at convergent margins. Here we combine data from exhumed subduction zone high-pressure rocks and thermodynamic modelling to show that deep serpentinization (40-80 km) generates significant amounts of H2 and abiotic CH4, as well as H2S and NH3. Our results suggest that subduction, worldwide, hosts large sources of deep H2 and abiotic CH4, potentially providing energy to the overlying subsurface biosphere in the forearc regions of convergent margins.
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insu-03710128 , version 1 (30-06-2022)

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A. Vitale Brovarone, D. A. Sverjensky, F. Piccoli, F. Ressico, D. Giovannelli, et al.. Subduction hides high-pressure sources of energy that may feed the deep subsurface biosphere. Nature Communications, 2020, 11, ⟨10.1038/s41467-020-17342-x⟩. ⟨insu-03710128⟩
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