Współczesne głębokomorskie budowle węglanowe – nieznany świat podmorskich oaz
Deep-marine carbonate buildups constitute one of the most spectacular and enigmatic features found on modern seafloors. Despite some characteristics shared by all the deep-marine carbonate buildups, they represent, in fact, several distinct types, which differ in terms of their geneses, as well as sedimentary, biotic and geo-chemical features. These structures can be roughly divided into hydrocarbon seep limestones, carbonate-built hydrothermal vents and deep-water coral reefs. The former group include carbonate concretions, lenses, mud mounds and mud volcanoes forming as a result of decrease in alkalinity, caused by an activity of methane-oxidizing microbes. The rare examples of hydrothermal-derived limestone columns, in turn, grow in response to mixing of ambient, cold seawater and warm, Ca 2+ -rich fluids originating from peridotite massifs. In contrast, growth of the deep-water coral reefs appears to be stimulated largely by hydrological and bathymetric constraints, whereas a potential input of fluid seepage is rather of subordinate importance in diagenetic lithification of these structures. Surprisingly, studies on deep-water carbonates may turn out to be relevant also for understanding the shallow-water carbonate factories, providing evidence that abiotic factors are more important in marine limestone precipitation than previously thought.