Dissolved Gas and Metal Composition of Hydrothermal Plumes From a 2008 Submarine Eruption on the Northeast Lau Spreading Center
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Dissolved Gas and Metal Composition of Hydrothermal Plumes From a 2008 Submarine Eruption on the Northeast Lau Spreading Center
  • Published Date:

    2020

  • Source:
    Frontiers in Marine Science, 7
Filetype[PDF-4.54 MB]


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  • Description:
    Extrusion of lava onto the seafloor transports heat and mass from the lithosphere to the hydrosphere and the biosphere. During this process, large amounts of dissolved gases can be released into the ocean as hydrothermal plumes and serve as nutrients for microbial activity. Here, we report the dissolved gas and metal composition of hydrothermal plumes associated with a submarine eruption at the Northeast Lau Spreading Center (NELSC) in the SW Pacific Ocean in November 2008. During this eruption, two different types of plumes were observed in the water column: a shallow event plume rich in H2 and poor in 3He and CH4, and a deep near-seafloor plume with high CH4, metals and 3He and intermediate H2 concentrations. Both were generated at the same time and at the same location. While the high abundance of H2 in the event plume points to ongoing reactions between hot rock and seawater, the distinct chemical characteristics of the near-seafloor plume likely result from the release of a mature fluid stored in the crust. The plume chemistry of the event plume favors a seawater-lava interaction event plume generation model. However, the heat budget asks for an additional process releasing enough heat to lift the plume within the time frame of this short event. The extremely high H2 concentrations suggest that the eruption was locally more explosive than assumed. A more explosive eruption style might enhance the heat flux from lava cooling.
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