Mapping deep-water gas emissions with sidescan sonar



Emissions of methane gas from cold seeps on the seafloor have a strong impact on a number of biogeochemical processes. These processes include the development of deepsea benthic ecosystems via the process of anaerobic oxidation of methane [Boetius et al., 2000] or the precipitation of carbonates [Ritger et al., 1987]. The fluxes of other chemical species associated with methane emissions may even influence the chemical composition of seawater [Aloisi et al., 2004]. Such gas emissions may have been much more intensive in the past with a strong impact on global climate [Dickens, 1999], as suggested by carbon isotope data.