Talc-dominated seafloor deposits reveal a new class of hydrothermal system

Hodgkinson, Matthew; Webber, Alexander; Roberts, Stephen; Mills, Rachel A.; Connelly, Douglas P.; Murton, Bramley J.. 2015 Talc-dominated seafloor deposits reveal a new class of hydrothermal system. Nature Communications, 6. 10150.

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© 2015 Nature Publishing Group This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Nature Communications. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version will be published in Nature Communications
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The Von Damm Vent Field (VDVF) is located on the flanks of the Mid-Cayman Spreading Centre, 13 km west of the axial rift, within a gabbro and peridotite basement. Unlike any other active vent field, hydrothermal precipitates at the VDVF comprise 85–90% by volume of the magnesium silicate mineral, talc. Hydrothermal fluids vent from a 3-m high, 1-m diameter chimney and other orifices at up to 215 °C with low metal concentrations, intermediate pH (5.8) and high concentrations (667 mmol kg−1) of chloride relative to seawater. Here we show that the VDVF vent fluid is generated by interaction of seawater with a mafic and ultramafic basement which precipitates talc on mixing with seawater. The heat flux at the VDVF is measured at 487±101 MW, comparable to the most powerful magma-driven hydrothermal systems known, and may represent a significant mode of off-axis oceanic crustal cooling not previously recognized or accounted for in global models.

Item Type: Publication - Article
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ISSN: 2041-1723
Date made live: 22 Oct 2015 15:34 +0 (UTC)

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