Particle geochemistry in the Rainbow hydrothermal plume, Mid-Atlantic Ridge1

Edmonds, H.N.; German, C.R.. 2004 Particle geochemistry in the Rainbow hydrothermal plume, Mid-Atlantic Ridge1. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 68 (4). 759-772.

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We report the analysis of 18 large volume (500-1500 L) in situ filtered samples of particulate material from the largest hydrothermal plume on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, overlying the ultramafic-hosted Rainbow hydrothermal field at 36[deg] 14'N. Measured particulate iron concentrations reach 614 nM. High concentrations of particulate Fe oxyhydroxides result from the extremely high Fe concentration (~24 mM) and Fe/H2S ratio (~24) of the vent fluids, and persist to at least 10 km away from the vent site due to the advection of plume material with the ambient along-axis flow. Two of the nine pairs of pump deployments appear to have intercepted the buoyant or otherwise very young portion of the hydrothermal plume. These samples are characterized by anomalously (compared to neutrally buoyant plume samples) high concentrations of Mg, U, and chalcophile elements, and low concentrations of Mn, Ca, V, Y, and the rare earth elements (REE). Within the neutrally buoyant plume, elemental distributions are largely consistent with previously observed behaviors: preferential removal of chalcophile elements, conservative behavior of oxyanions (P, V, and U), and continuous scavenging of Y and the REE. This consistency is particularly significant in light of the underlying differences in fluid chemistry between Rainbow and other studied sites. Chalcophile elements are preferentially removed from the plume in the order Cd>Zn>Co>Cu. Phosphorus/iron and vanadium/iron ratios for the neutrally buoyant plume are consistent with global trends with respect to the concentration of dissolved phosphate in ambient seawater. Comparison of buoyant and neutrally buoyant plume ratios with data from hydrothermal sediments underlying the Rainbow plume (Cave et al., 2002) indicates, however, that while P/Fe ratios are indeed constant V/Fe ratios increase progressively from early stage plume particles to sediments. REE distributions in the buoyant and neutrally buoyant plume appear most consistent with a continuous scavenging process during dispersion through the water column

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0016-7037
Date made live: 19 Apr 2004 +0 (UTC)

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