Seafloor Massive Sulfide Resources

Jamieson, John W., Hannington, Mark D. and Petersen, Sven (2017) Seafloor Massive Sulfide Resources Encyclopedia of Maritime and Offshore Engineering. Wiley, Hoboken, pp. 1-10. DOI 10.1002/9781118476406.emoe579.

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Seafloor massive sulfide (SMS) deposits form on and just below the seafloor along submarine tectonic plate boundaries. The deposits form from seawater that circulates through the underlying crust, is heated, leaches metals and sulfur from the surrounding rock, and then ascends and vents at the seafloor, forming sulfide mineral accumulations rich in Cu, Zn, Pb, Au, and Ag. Hydrothermal circulation through the crust is driven by shallow magmatic heat sources along the plate boundaries. Although high temperature “black smoker” chimneys and the unique ecosystems that they support are the most recognizable features of these vent sites, the mineral deposits can take on a variety of forms, from individual chimneys of less than a meter tall to large mounds with diameters of several hundred meters. The description of the deposits as “massive” refers to the high proportion (typically over 60%) of sulfide minerals that make up the deposits. Other minerals that commonly occur in SMS deposits are sulfates (barite and anhydrite), amorphous silica, and clay minerals. At the time of writing, more than 500 sites of high temperature seafloor hydrothermal systems and related mineral deposits have been found of the seafloor.

Document Type: Book chapter
Additional Information: Publication year of print edition: 2018
Keywords: seafloor massive sulfides; hydrothermal vents; marine mineral resources; deep sea mining; black smokers
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems > Marine Mineralische Rohstoffe
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
DOI etc.: 10.1002/9781118476406.emoe579
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2017 07:36
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2017 08:16

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