Structural control of offshore fluid seepage in the Santa Barbara Basin, California
This project seeks to assess the control of faults on subsurface fluid migration based on the composition of fluid and authigenic cement samples collected from offshore fluid seeps using MBARI's ROVs Ventana and Tiburon (Figures 1 and 2). Extensive submarine methane seeps are found on the northern shelf ot the Santa Barbara basin (mpeg movie of active gas vent, 1.5 MB file, © MBARI 2000). Authigenic carbonate occurs typically as slabs or irregular build-ups (Figures 3 and 4). Although found on the sea floor, their agglutinated textures suggests formation within the sediment and later exhumation. The carbonate isotopic composition indicates precipitation in association with seeping fluids, thus providing a record of past fluid seepage activity in the basin. Exhumed carbonate build-ups form important habitat for rock fish (mpeg movie, 1.5 MB file, © MBARI 2000). The effect of fluid seepage on mass wasting and canyon formation is addressed in this study based on high-resolution multibeam bathymetry and seep compositional analyses. This project takes advantage of ArcView GIS for the integration of chemical, structural, and sea floor topographic data. In collaboration with Thomas Naehr (Texas A&M), we work on the occurrence and composition of authigenic carbonate precipitates along the California margin.
Figures 1 and 2: MBARI's ROVs Ventana (left) and Tiburon (right). Ventana is operated from the R/V Point Lobos using a crane that operates over the starboard side of the ship. Tiburon is launched from the moon pool of the R/V Western Flyer, a SWATH (small water-plane area twin hull) vessel.
Figures 3 and 4: ROV dive video images of authigenic carbonate slabs and build-ups in the Santa Barbara basin. Manipulator arms of the ROVs allow sampling of carbonates. Images © MBARI 1998, 2000.


Naehr, T. H., Eichhubl, P., Orphan, V. J., Hovland, M., Paull, C. K., Ussler, W. III, Lorenson, T. D., and Greene, H. G., 2007, Authigenic carbonate formation at hydrocarbon seeps in continental margin sediments: A comparative study. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, v. 54, no. 11-13, p. 1268-1291. [html abstract, pdf full text]

Eichhubl, P., Greene, H. G., and Maher, N., 2002, Physiography of an active transpressive margin basin: high-resolution bathymetry of the Santa Barbara basin, Southern California continental borderland: Marine Geology, vol. 184, no. 1/2, p. 95-120. [html abstract, pdf full text, erratum]

Keller, E. A., Kamerling, M., Eichhubl, P., Hill. T., and Kennett, J. P., 2001, Isla Calafia, the Fifth Santa Barbara Channel Island? GSA Abstracts with Programs, vol. 33, no. 6, p. A70. [html text]

Eichhubl, P., Greene, H. G., Naehr, T., and Maher, N., 2000, Structural control of fluid flow: offshore seepage in the Santa Barbara Basin, California: Journal of Geochemical Exploration, vol. 69-70, p. 545-549. [html abstract, pdf full text; correction]

Martin, J., Eichhubl, P., and Greene, H. G., 2000, Authigenic Carbonate in the Santa Barbara Basin-Relic of Past Aqueous Fluid Seepage? supplement to EOS, vol. 81, no. 48, p. 603. [html text]

Greene, H. G., Eichhubl., P., and Maher, N., 2000, An Extensive Hydrocarbon Flow on the Western Santa Barbara Shelf, California: supplement to EOS, vol. 81, no. 48, p. 1068. [html text]

Naehr, T., Stakes, D. S., Paull, C. K., Eichhubl, P., Ussler, W., Greene, H. G., Lorenson, T., Hovland, M., 2000, Fluid Flow and Carbonate Precipitation in Continental Margin Settings: supplement to EOS, vol. 81, no. 48, p. 640. [html text]

Greene, H. G., Eichhubl., P., and Maher, N., 1999, Collapsed Canyon Heads: An Indicator of Fluid Induced Mass Wasting: supplement to EOS, vol. 80, no. 46, p. F561. [html text]

Eichhubl, P., Greene, H. G., Maher, N., and Hatcher, G., 1999, Structural Control on Fluid Flow and Authigenic Cement Composition of Cold Seeps in the Offshore Santa Barbara Basin: A GIS-Based Approach: GSA Abstracts with Programs, vol. 31, no. 7, p. A-351. [html text]

Eichhubl, P., and Greene, H. G., 1999, Structural control on hydrocarbon and aqueous fluid discharge in the Santa Barbara coastal region: AAPG Bulletin, vol. 83, p. 686. [html text]

last update: 2/5/01