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How to discern ancient oil seeps from methane seeps?

Daniel Smrzka has been awarded with an uni:docs fellowship from the University of Vienna to develop approaches that allow for the discrimination of limestones that formed at oil seeps from limestones that formed at methane seeps.

Seepage of oil not only contributes to mineral formation at seeps, but also affects the local biological community structure on the seafloor and contributes to the fluxes of organic carbon to the ocean. The processes involved in oil degradation and its impact on seep biology and geochemistry are poorly constrained. Being able to discern ancient oil from methane seeps will improve our knowledge on the biological utilization of crude oil in the geologic past, assess its contribution and impact on carbonate mineral formation, enable confident identification of ancient oil seeps, and enable a re-evaluation of the driving forces for the evolution of chemosynthesis-based metazoan life.



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