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ABSTRACT

Fluid flow out of the seafloor offshore Monterey Bay region is extensive. To date 16 major active and ancient, or dormant, seep sites have been identified and many of these sites are composed of smaller sites too numerous to map at a regional scale. These seeps have been identified by the presence of chemosynthetic communities that are primarily composed of chemoautotrophic organisms or by carbonate deposition and buildups. Of the 17 identified sites, 9 active cold seep sites support living chemosynthethic communities. Seven major dormant seep sites have been identified based upon the presence of carbonate deposits or buildups.

Identified seep sites are primarily concentrated along fault trends associated with the boundary of the Salinian block or Palo Colorado-San Gregorio fault zone, and along the lower flanks and crests of tectonically uplifting slopes. A combination of transpressional squeezing and overburden pressures, vertical advection through hydrocarbon and organic-rich sediment, and seaward flow of meteoric waters supply fluids to the seep sites.

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