Raumnummer: 2B385
Tel.: +43-1-4277-53443
Fax: +43-1-4277-9534

Daniel Smrzka

Research Interests:

  • Anaerobic oxidation of methane
  • Authigenic carbonate formation and silicification at cold seeps
  • Trace and rare earth element geochemistry of authigenic carbonates
  • Geochemical modeling of aquatic systems

Current project:

Establishing criteria for the identification of oil seep carbonates

Hydrocarbon seepage along continental margins has drawn the interest of scientists since their first discovery 3 decades ago. This interest has persisted due to the fact that natural seepage of hydrocarbons from sediments contributes to greenhouse gas emissions to the ocean and the atmosphere.
Seafloor fluid and gas expulsions provide the basis for ecosystems whose inhabitants rely completely on reduced compounds without the need for sunlight. One of the key processes at seeps is the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM), mediated by a consortium of archaea and bacteria. AOM is held responsible for reducing methane emissions from the seafloor and for inducing carbonate precipitation. Like AOM, oxidation of higher hydrocarbons associated with oil seepage is believed to induce carbonate formation.
Seepage of oil not only influences mineral formation, but also affects faunal community structures at seeps and contributes to the fluxes of organic carbon to the hydro- and atmosphere. Processes involved in oil degradation and its impact on seep biology are poorly constrained. My project aims to establish new proxies that allow for the discrimination of oil-derived and methane-derived carbonates.