National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1998

The relationship between P/Fe and V/Fe ratios in hydrothermal precipitates and dissolved phosphate in seawater

Feely, R.A., J.H. Trefry, G.T. Lebon, and C.R. German

Geophys. Res. Lett., 25(13), 2253–2256, doi: 10.1029/98GL01546 (1998)

A strong positive relationship between the molar P/Fe ratio in fresh hydrothermal Fe ferrihydrite precipitates and seawater-dissolved phosphate has been demonstrated using samples from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. We ascribe this relationship to scavenging of dissolved phosphate from seawater during the formation of hydrothermal Fe-rich particles above hydrothermal vents. In contrast, molar V/Fe ratios in hydrothermal particles are inversely correlated with dissolved phosphate. These results indicate that inter-ocean variations in dissolved phosphate control the P/Fe and V/Fe ratios in hydrothermal Fe precipitates, one of the precursors of metalliferous sediment.

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