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Letters to Nature: Hydrothermal activity along the southwest Indian Ridge

German, C.R.; Baker, E.T.; Mevel, C.; Tamaki, K.. 1998 Letters to Nature: Hydrothermal activity along the southwest Indian Ridge. Nature, 395 (6701). 490-493. 10.1038/26730

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Abstract/Summary

Twenty years after the discovery of sea-floor hot springs, vast stretches of the global mid-ocean-ridge system remain unexplored for hydrothermal venting. The southwest Indian ridge is a particularly intriguing region, as it is both the slowest-spreading of the main ridges1 and the sole modern migration pathway between the diverse vent fauna of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans2. A recent model postulates that a linear relation exists between vent frequency and spreading rate3 and predicts vent fields to be scarcest along the slowest-spreading ridge sections, thus impeding migration and enhancing faunal diversity2. Here, however, we report evidence of hydrothermal plumes at six locations within two 200-km-long sections of the southwest Indian ridge indicating a higher frequency of venting than expected. These results suggest that fluxes of heat and chemicals from slow-spreading ridges may be greater than previously thought and that faunal migration along the southwest Indian ridge may serve as an important corridor for gene-flow between Pacific and Atlantic hydrothermal fields.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1038/26730
ISSN: 0028-0836
Date made live: 02 Apr 2008 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/150818

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