Chemistry of Hydrothermal Plumes at 159°E on the Australian-Antarctic Ridge

Friday, 19 December 2014
Doshik Hahm1, Edward T Baker2, Tae Siek Rhee1, John E Lupton3, Joseph A Resing4 and Sung-hyun Park1, (1)KOPRI Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon, South Korea, (2)Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, Seattle, WA, United States, (3)NOAA/PMEL, Newport, OR, United States, (4)Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, and NOAA/PMEL, Seattle, WA, United States
The Australian-Antarctic Ridge (AAR) is one of the largest unexplored regions of the global mid-ocean ridge system. In the present contribution, we present the geochemistry of the hydrothermal plumes over the KR1, an AAR segment at 159ºE and 62ºS. In 2011, we collected 48 Miniature Autonomous Plume Recorder profiles, measuring optical back scatter and oxidation-reduction potential, and identified the area between 158.5 and 159ºE as the densest concentration of active hydrothermal sites. In order to further characterize the chemistry of the hydrothermal plumes over the area, named 'Mujin', we conducted intensive vertical and tow-yo CTD casts in 2013. The maximum concentrations of the chemical tracers 3He, CH4, H2, and dissolved Mn, were 7.47 fmol/kg, 19.6 nmol/kg, 8.8 nmol/kg, 94.3 nmol/L, respectively. The CH4/3He (1 -10) and CH4/Mn (0.01 - 0.2) ratios were significantly lower than many ultra-mafic hosted systems, which are often found in slow spreading ridges. The lower ratios are consistent with a basaltic-hosted system, typical of the intermediate spreading rate of 6.8 cm/yr of KR1. Additionally, some of the plume samples collected around 158.6 and 158.8ºE exhibited slightly higher ratios of H2/3He than the others. Assuming that H2 is produced from the reduction of water by reduced iron compounds in the rock, the higher ratios suggest that those plumes are supported by a younger hydrothermal system, which may have experienced a recent eruption.