A single hydrothermal vent, 'F' vent, occurring on very young crust at 9??16.8???N, East Pacific Rise, was sampled in 1991 and 1994. In 1991, at the measured temperature of 388??C and seafloor pressure of 258 bar, the fluids from this vent were on the two-phase curve for seawater. These fluids were very low in chlorinity and other dissolved species, and high in gases compared to seawater and most sampled seafloor hydrothermal vent fluids. In 1994, when this vent was next sampled, it had cooled to 351??C and was venting fluids ???1.5 times seawater chlorinity. This is the first reported example of a single seafloor hydrothermal vent evolving from vapor to brine. The 1991 and 1994 fluids sampled from this vent are compositionally conjugate pairs to one another. These results support the hypothesis that vapor-phase fluids vent in the early period following a volcanic eruption, and that the liquid-phase brines are stored within the oceanic crust, and vent at a later time, in this case 3 years. These results demonstrate that the venting of brines can occur in the same location, in fact from the same sulfide edifice, where the vapor-phase fluids vented previously.
Additional Publication Details
Direct observation of the evolution of a seafloor 'black smoker' from vapor to brine