Abstract

We present the first evidence for widespread seabed methane venting along the southeastern United States Atlantic margin beyond the well-known Blake Ridge diapir seep. Recent ship- and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV)–collected data resolve multiple water-column anomalies (>1000 m height) and extensive new chemosynthetic seep communities at the Blake Ridge and Cape Fear diapirs. These results indicate that multiple, highly localized fluid conduits punctuate the areally extensive Blake Ridge gas hydrate province, and enable the delivery of significant amounts of methane to the water column. Thus, there appears to be an abundance of seabed fluid flux not previously ascribed to the Atlantic margin of the United States.

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