National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1994

Composition and sedimentation of hydrothermal plume particles from North Cleft segment, Juan de Fuca Ridge

Feely, R.A., G.J. Massoth, J.H. Trefry, E.T. Baker, A.J. Paulson, and G.T. Lebon

J. Geophys. Res., 99(B3), 4985–5006, doi: 10.1029/93JB02509 (1994)

In 1990 and 1991, particles from buoyant and neutrally buoyant hydrothermal plumes above hydrothermal vents at the North Cleft segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge were sampled to study their changing composition and fluxes away from the vent field. In the rising buoyant plume, >75% of the P, V, Cr, and As scavenging from seawater by hydrothermal precipitates occurs in the first 50 m above the vent. Cu and Zn are most enriched in buoyant plume particles collected from the first few meters above the vent. However, the degree of enrichment decreases very rapidly with increased height above the vents due to sedimentation of the more dense Cu- and Zn-rich sulfide phases. Using the plume data, coupled with the results of our analysis of sediment trap samples, we estimated that more than 99% and 99.9%, respectively, of the total hydrothermal Fe and Mn produced at the vent field are transported beyond the vent field and dispersed in the open ocean.

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