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Hydrogen isotope systematics of phase separation in submarine hydrothermal systems: Experimental calibration and theoretical models

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta

By:
, , , and
DOI: 10.1016/0016-7037(96)00033-6

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Abstract

Hydrogen isotope fractionation factors were measured for coexisting brines and vapors formed by phase separation of NaCl/H2O fluids at temperatures ranging from 399-450??C and pressures from 277-397 bars. It was found that brines are depleted in D compared to coexisting vapors at all conditions studied. The magnitude of hydrogen isotope fractionation is dependent on the relative amounts of Cl in the two phases and can be empirically correlated to pressure using the following relationship: 1000 ln ??(vap-brine) = 2.54(??0.83) + 2.87(??0.69) x log (??P), where ??(vap-brine) is the fractionation factor and ??P is a pressure term representing distance from the critical curve in the NaCl/H2O system. The effect of phase separation on hydrogen isotope distribution in subseafloor hydrothermal systems depends on a number of factors, including whether phase separation is induced by heating at depth or by decompression of hydrothermal fluids ascending to the seafloor. Phase separation in most subseafloor systems appears to be a simple process driven by heating of seawater to conditions within the two-phase region, followed by segregation and entrainment of brine or vapor into a seawater dominated system. Resulting vent fluids exhibit large ranges in Cl concentration with no measurable effect on ??D. Possible exceptions to this include hydrothermal fluids venting at Axial and 9??N on the East Pacific Rise. High ??D values of low Cl fluids venting at Axial are consistent with phase separation taking place at relatively shallow levels in the oceanic crust while negative ??D values in some low Cl fluids venting at 9??N suggest involvement of a magmatic fluid component or phase separation of D-depleted brines derived during previous hydrothermal activity.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Hydrogen isotope systematics of phase separation in submarine hydrothermal systems: Experimental calibration and theoretical models
Series title:
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
DOI:
10.1016/0016-7037(96)00033-6
Volume
60
Issue:
9
Year Published:
1996
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
First page:
1595
Last page:
1604