Iodine ages of pore waters at Hydrate Ridge (ODP Leg 204), Cascadia Margin: Implications for sources of methane in gas hydrates

Zunli Lu, Hitoshi Tomaru, Udo Fehn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Hydrate Ridge off the coast of Oregon, USA, is a prime example for gas hydrate occurrences in active margin settings. It is part of the Cascadia Margin and was the focus of Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Leg 204, which successfully recovered fluids from nine sites from the southern part of the ridge. Iodide concentrations in pore fluids associated with gas hydrates are strongly enhanced, by factors up to 5000 compared to seawater, which allows the use of this biophilic element as tracer for organic source regions. We applied the cosmogenic isotope 129I (T1/2 = 15.7 Ma) system to determine the age of the organic source formation responsible for the iodide enrichment. In all sites at ODP Leg 204, 129I/I ratios were found to decrease with depth to values around 250 × 10- 15, corresponding to minimum ages of 40 Ma, but in several sites, maxima in the 129I/I ratios point to the local addition of young iodide. The results indicate that a large amount of iodide was derived from deep accreted sediments of Eocene age, and that additional source regions provide iodide of Late Miocene age. The presence of old iodide in the pore waters suggests that fluid pathways are open to allow transport over large distances into the gas hydrate fields. The strong correlation between iodide and methane in hydrate fields coupled with the similarity in transport parameters in aqueous solutions suggests that a large fraction of methane in gas hydrates also has old sources and is transported into the present locations from source regions of Eocene age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)654-665
Number of pages12
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 30 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydrate Ridge
  • I/I ratios
  • ODP Leg 204
  • gas hydrate
  • iodide
  • pore water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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