In samples of pure natural gas hydrates from Hydrate Ridge, Cascadia Margin, virtually no helium and neon components are present providing evidence that the light noble gases are not incorporated into the structure of natural methane hydrates. In contrast, the hydrates contain significant amounts of argon, krypton and xenon. These gases show a distinct fractionation pattern, with the heavier ones preferentially incorporated into the gas hydrate structure. The hydrate methane is devoid of C-14 indicating that there is no contribution of a recent (C-14-active) organic carbon reservoir to the hydrate carbon pool. On the basis of the delta(13)C and delta(2)H signature, it appears that microbial CO2-reduction is the dominant CH4 production pathway.
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