The scale of hydrothermal circulation of the Iheya-North field inferred from intensive heat flow measurements and ocean drilling
Abstract:Iheya-North hydrothermal field situated in the middle Okinawa trough backarc basin is one of the largest ongoing Kuroko deposits in the world. Active chimneys as well as diffuse ventings (maximum fluid temperature 311 °C) have been located and studied in detail through various geological and geophysical surveys. To clarify the spatial scale of the hydrothermal circulation system, intensive heat flow measurements were carried out and ~100 heat flow data in and around the field from 2002 to 2014. In 2010, Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 331 was carried out, and subbottom temperature data were obtained around the hydrothermal sites. During the JAMSTEC R/V Kaiyo cruise, KY14-01 in 2014, Iheya-North “Natsu” and “Aki” hydrothermal fields were newly found. The Iheya-Noth “Natsu” and “Aki” sites are located 1.2 km and 2.6 km south from the Iheya-North original site, respectively, and the maximum venting fluid temperature was 317 °C. We obtained one heat flow data at the “Aki” site. The value was 17 W/m2. Currently, the relationship between these hydrothermal sites are not well known.
Three distinct zones are identified by heat flow values within 3 km from the active hydrothermal field. They are high-heat flow zone (>1 W/m2; HHZ), moderate-heat-flow zone (1-0.1 W/m2; MHZ); and low-heat-flow zone (<0.1 W/m2; LHZ). With increasing distance east of the HHZ, heat flow gradually decreases towards MHZ and LHZ. In the LHZ, temperature at 37m below the seafloor (mbsf) was 6 °C, that is consistent with the surface low heat flow suggesting the recharge of seawater. However, between 70 and 90 mbsf, the coarser sediments were cored, and temperature increased from 25 °C to 40°C. The temperature was 905°C at 151 mbsf, which was measured with thermoseal strips. The low thermal gradient in the upper 40 m suggests downward fluid flow. We infer that a hydrothermal circulation in the scale of ~1.5 km horizontal vs. ~a few hundred meters vertical.