Assessing the Role of Seafloor Weathering in Global Geochemical Cycling

Tuesday, 15 December 2015: 13:55
3007 (Moscone West)
Navah X Farahat, Dorian S Abbot and David E Archer, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, United States
Low-temperature alteration of the basaltic upper oceanic crust, known as seafloor weathering, has been proposed as a mechanism for long-term climate regulation similar to the continental climate-weathering negative feedback. Despite this potentially far-reaching impact of seafloor weathering on habitable planet evolution, existing modeling frameworks do not include the full scope of alteration reactions or recent findings of convective flow dynamics. We present a coupled fluid dynamic and geochemical numerical model of low-temperature, off-axis hydrothermal activity. This model is designed to explore the the seafloor weathering flux of carbon to the oceanic crust and its responsiveness to climate fluctuations. The model’s ability to reproduce the seafloor weathering environment is evaluated by constructing numerical simulations for comparison with two low-temperature hydrothermal systems: A transect east of the Juan de Fuca Ridge and the southern Costa Rica Rift flank. We explore the sensitivity of carbon uptake by seafloor weathering on climate and geology by varying deep ocean temperature, seawater dissolved inorganic carbon, continental weathering inputs, and basaltic host rock in a suite of numerical experiments.