Iron supply from the Mid Atlantic Ridge to the North Atlantic ocean
We sampled hydrothermal plumes originating from 10 known vent sites on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) with differing geochemistry to assess the chemical stability of Fe released from each site. Hydrothermal dFe is dispersed to the West of the MAR into the N. Atlantic as well as North to South along the ridge axis. Within the MAR dFe was always greater than deep open ocean concentrations indicative of the spreading of plumes within the ridge. Hydrothermal plume dFe was predominantly colloidal (dFe-sFe = cFe) decreasing as a fraction of dFe with distance from the hydrothermal source suggesting either a loss of cFe or exchange between size fractions. Understanding this exchange and the formation of particulates is critical to constraining the longevity of hydrothermal Fe in the deep ocean. Near Edge X-Ray Adsorption Fine Structure (NEXFAS) on particles showed changes in iron (II) and iron (III) speciation as particles were dispersed from hydrothermal plumes.
Our study highlights the ubiquity of elevated Fe concentrations along the MAR and how differing geochemistry influences the hydrothermal flux of dFe to the ocean. We compared Fe data to conservative δ3He to constrain the longevity of hydrothermal Fe in the North Atlantic.