AbstractDuring expedition MSM37 on the German RV Maria S. Merian, bottom water temperature and sediment temperature profiles were measured in the vicinity of North Pond (western flank of Mid‐Atlantic Ridge) during exploratory dives with Remotely Operated Vehicle Jason II. In addition, push cores were taken at locations with high sediment temperature gradients. We could identify two locations where sediment temperature gradients exceed 1 K/m and bottom water temperatures showed an anomaly of up to 0.04 °C above background. We interpret these observations as clear indication of low‐temperature diffuse venting of fluids that have traveled through the uppermost crust. We can safely assume that the observed phenomena are widespread at ridge flank settings where sediment cover is thin or absent, and hence, we can explain the efficient heat mining on ridge flanks. Due to the difficulties of locating diffuse low‐temperature discharge sites and due to the fact that discharge can occur through thin sediment cover as well as through sediment‐free basement outcrops, it will be very difficult to quantify fluxes of energy and mass from low‐temperature diffuse venting in ridge flank settings; however, thermal anomalies may be used to locate sites of discharge for geochemical, microbial, and hydrologic characterization.
AbstractTwo expeditions to Dorado Outcrop on the eastern flank of the East Pacific Rise and west of the Middle America Trench collected images, video, rocks and sediment samples and measured temperature and fluid discharge rates to document the physical and biogeochemical characteristics of a regional, low‐temperature (~15°C) hydrothermal system. Analysis of video and images identified lava morphologies: pillow, lobate, and sheet flows. Glasses from collected lavas were consistent with an off‐axis formation. Hydrothermal discharge generally occurs through pillow lavas, but is patchy, sporadic, and sometimes ceases at particular sites of discharge. Year‐long temperature measurements at five of these discharge sites show daily ranges that oscillate with tidal frequencies by 6°C or more. Instantaneous fluid discharge rates (0.16 to 0.19 L s‐1) were determined resulting in a calculated discharge of ~200 L s‐1 when integrated over the area defined by the most robust fluid discharge. Such discharge has a power output of 10‐12 MW. Hydrothermal seepage through thin sediment adjacent to the outcrop accounts for <3% of this discharge, but seepage may support an oxic sediment column. High extractable Mn concentrations and depleted δ13C in the low but variable organic solid phase suggest hydrothermal fluids provide a source for manganese accumulation and likely enhance the oxidation of organic carbon. Comparisons of the physical and geochemical characteristics at Dorado and Baby Bare Outcrops, the latter being the only other site of ridge‐flank hydrothermal discharge that has been sampled directly, suggest commonalities and differences that have implications for future discoveries.
|Project Title||Ridge2000 Integrated Studies at 9degN East Pacific Rise: Establishing a Role for Fe and S Microbial Metabolism in Ocean Crust Weathering|
|Created||August 18, 2016|
|Modified||September 2, 2016|
Hydrothermal chimneys are a globally dispersed habitat on the seafloor associated with mid-ocean ridge (MOR) spreading centers. Active, hot, venting sulfide structures from MORs have been examined for microbial diversity and ecology since their discovery in the mid-1970s, and recent work has also begun to explore the microbiology of inactive sulfides—structures that persist for decades to millennia and form moderate to massive deposits at and below the seafloor. The investigators studied bacterial diversity on inactive hydrothermal sulfide chimney samples from 9°N on the East Pacific Rise to learn their bacterial community composition, potential ecological roles, and succession from active venting to inactive chimneys. The investigators used tag pyrosequencing of the V6 region of the 16S rRNA and full-length 16S rRNA sequencing on inactive hydrothermal sulfide chimney samples from 9°N on the East Pacific Rise to learn their bacterial composition, metabolic potential, and succession from venting to nonventing (inactive) regimes. Many bacteria on inactive sulfide chimneys are closely related to lineages involved in sulfur, nitrogen, iron, and methane cycling, and two common groups found on active chimneys are nearly absent from inactive vents, where they were replaced by groups likely involved in the elemental cycling mentioned above. Alpha-, beta-, delta-, and gammaproteobacteria and members of the phylum Bacteroidetes dominate all inactive sulfides. Greater than 26% of the V6 tags obtained are closely related to lineages involved in sulfur, nitrogen, iron, and methane cycling. Epsilonproteobacteria represent <4% of the V6 tags recovered from inactive sulfides and 15% of the full-length clones, despite their high abundance in active chimneys. Members of the phylum Aquificae, which arecommon in active vents, were absent from both the V6 tags and full-length 16S rRNA data sets. In both analyses, the proportions of alphaproteobacteria, betaproteobacteria, and members of the phylum Bacteroidetes were greater than those found on active hydrothermal sulfides. These shifts in bacterial population structure on inactive chimneys reveal ecological succession following cessation of venting and also imply a potential shift in microbial activity and metabolic guilds on hydrothermal sulfides, the dominant biome that results from seafloor venting.
Note: This project was supported by NSF award OCE-0241791 as add-on work to the original proposal. The proposal abstract is available from NSF.
|Katrina J. Edwards||University of Southern California (USC)||Principal Investigator|
|Wolfgang Bach||University of Bremen||Co-Principal Investigator||✓|