Discovery of new hydrothermal vent sites in Bransfield Strait, Antarctica

Klinkhammer, G. P., Chin, C., Keller, R.A., Dählmann, A., Sahling, Heiko, Sarthou, G., Petersen, Sven, Smith, F. and Wilson, C. (2001) Discovery of new hydrothermal vent sites in Bransfield Strait, Antarctica Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 193 (3-4). pp. 395-407. DOI 10.1016/S0012-821X(01)00536-2.

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We carried out a search for hydrothermal vents in the Central Basin of Bransfield Strait, Antarctica. The ZAPS (zero angle photon spectrometer) chemical sensor and instrument package (Oregon State University), OFOS (ocean-floor observation system) camera sled and TVG (TV-grab) (GEOMAR) were used to explore the water column and underlying seafloor. These operations were supplemented with a series of dredges. Hydrothermal plumes over Hook Ridge at the eastern end of the basin are confined to the E ridge crest and SE flank. The plumes are complex and sometimes contain two turbidity maxima one widespread feature centered at 1150 m and a smaller, more localized but broad maximum at 600–800 m. We traced the source of the shallower plume to a sunken crater near the ridge crest using sensors on the ZAPS instrument package. Subsequently two TV-grabs from the crater brought back hot, soupy sediment (42–49°C) overlain by hard, siliceous crusts and underlain by a thick layer of volcanic ash. We also recovered chimney fragments whose texture and mineralogy indicate venting temperatures in excess of 250°C. Native sulfur and Fe-sulfides occur in fractures and porous layers in sediment from throughout the area. Pore water data from the crater site are consistent with venting into a thin sediment layer and indicate phase separation of fluids beneath Hook Ridge. The source of the deeper plumes at Hook Ridge has yet to be located. We also explored a series of three parallel volcanic ridges west of Hook Ridge called Three Sisters. We detected water column anomalies indicative of venting with the ZAPS package and recovered hydrothermal barites and sulfides from Middle Sister. We spent considerable time photographing Middle Sister and Hook Ridge but did not identify classic vent fauna at either location. We either missed small areas with our photography or typical MOR vent fauna are absent at these sites.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Bransfield Strait; hydrothermal vents; manganese; chemical composition; Antarctica
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/S0012-821X(01)00536-2
ISSN: 0012-821X
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2008 15:05
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 09:49

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