Study of hydrothermal channels based on near-bottom magnetic prospecting: Application to Longqi hydrothermal area

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Wu Tao1,2, Chunhui Tao2, Huaiming Li2, Wu Zhaocai2, Zhang Jinhui2, Chen Qinzhu2 and Liao Shili2, (1)JLU Jilin University, Changchun, China, (2)Second Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanographic Administration of China, Hangzhou, China
Mid-ocean ridges, largely present far from the continental plates, are characterized by complex geological structures and numerous hydrothermal systems with complex controlling factors. Exploring seafloor sulfide resources for industrial and scientific applications is a challenge. With the advent of geophysical surveys for seabed investigation, near-bottom magnetic prospecting, which yields shallow geological structure, is an efficient method for investigating active and inactive hydrothermal fields and for researching the structure of hydrothermal systems (Tivey et al., 1993, 1996;German et al., 2008).

We collected near-bottom magnetic data in the Longqi hydrothermal area, located in the southwest Indian ridge (49.6° E; Zhu et al., 2010; Tao et al., 2014), using the autonomous benthic explorer, an autonomous underwater vehicle, during the second leg of the Chinese cruise DY115-19 on board R/V DaYangYiHao. Based on the results of the intensity of the spatial differential vector method (Seaman et al., 1993), we outline the hydrothermal alternation zone. By building models, we subsequently infer a fault along the discovered hydrothermal vents; this fault line may be connected to a detachment fault (Zhao et al., 2013). In addition, we discuss the channels of the hydrothermal circulation system (Figure 1), and presume that heat was conducted to the sea subsurface by the detachment fault; the aqueous fluid that infiltrated the fault is heated and conveyed to the seafloor, promoting the circulation of the hydrothermal system.