The alkali element and boron geochemistry of the Escanaba Trough sediment-hosted hydrothermal system

James, Rachael H.; Rudnicki, Mark D.; Palmer, Martin R.. 1999 The alkali element and boron geochemistry of the Escanaba Trough sediment-hosted hydrothermal system. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 171 (1). 157-169.

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A suite of conjugate pore fluid and sediment samples were collected during Leg 169 of the ODP from within the clastic sedimentary sequences which host massive sulphides at Central Hill, Escanaba Trough (ODP Site 1038). We report the alkali element and boron, and Li and B isotope data for these samples. Relative to a reference site (Site 1037) located outside the zone of high heat flow, pore fluids from Site 1038 show a wide variation in Cl (300–800 mM), and have far higher concentrations of Li (up to 6.2 mM), B (up to 9.7 mM), Cs (up to 5.0 μM), and Rb (up to 97 μM). We show that the pore fluids are derived from hydrothermal circulation that has extended into the basement oceanic crust, with input of the alkali elements and B as the rising hydrothermal fluids interact geochemically with the overlying clastic sediments. There is, however, no marked depletion of these elements in the conjugate sediments, suggesting that there has been advective transport of fluids away from the primary hydrothermal reaction site. This is supported by modelling of the Li and B isotope systematics of the pore fluids, which shows that they record extensive formation of secondary minerals during cooling of the fluids from ∼350 to ∼20°C. Precipitation of metal-rich sulphides would have occurred prior to the formation of these minerals, thus, the pore fluid Li and B isotope data can place important constraints on the locus of sulphide deposition beneath the seafloor at Escanaba.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0012821X
Additional Keywords: alkali metals; boron; geochemistry; geothermal systems; Escanaba Trough
Date made live: 07 Feb 2012 11:56 +0 (UTC)

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