National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1995

Regional setting of hydrothermal activity

German, C.R., E.T. Baker, and G. Klinkhammer

In Hydrothermal Vents and Processes, L.M. Parson, C.L. Walker, and D.R. Dixon (eds.), Geol. Soc. Spec. Pub. No. 87, 3–15 (1995)

High-temperature hydrothermal venting, in which heat is transferred from the lithosphere to the oceans, is intimately associated with all forms of active plate boundaries--fast- and slow-spreading centres, fracture zones and even with subduction zones, in the form of back-arc spreading centres. A range of steady-state hydrothermal vent sites are described in various tectonic settings. A selection of the more unusual hydrothermal features and their geological environments are also considered, including hydrothermal "events," gas-rich vents, and sites of phase separation. Modeling of hydrothermal plumes is introduced and the importance of focused high-temperature venting is reviewed with respect to global hydrothermal fluxes.

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