Timescales for the development of methanogenesis and free gas layers in recently-deposited sediments of Arkona Basin (Baltic Sea)
Abstract. Arkona Basin (southwestern Baltic Sea) is a seasonally-hypoxic basin characterized by the presence of free methane gas in its youngest organic-rich muddy stratum. Through the use of reactive transport models, this study tracks the development of the methane geochemistry in Arkona Basin as this muddy sediment became deposited during the last 8 kyr. Four cores are modeled each pertaining to a unique geochemical scenario according to their respective contemporary geochemical profiles. Ultimately the thickness of the muddy sediment and the flux of particulate organic carbon are crucial in determining the advent of both methanogenesis and free methane gas, the timescales over which methanogenesis takes over as a dominant reaction pathway for organic matter degradation, and the timescales required for free methane gas to form.