Two types of massive sulphide were dredged from one of the six vent sites located in the axial valley of the southern Juan de Fuca ridge. Type A samples are angular slabs of dark grey Zn-rich sulphide with interlayers and a thin, partly-oxidized crust of Fe-sulphide. These layered sulphide aggregates appear to be fragments of a sulphide wall enclosing an active hydrothermal vent. The outer sulphide wall is composed of colloform Fe sulphide and Fe-poor sphalerite deposited under low-T conditions when sea-water and hydrothermal fluid mix above the discharge point. Inside the wall the intensifying hydrothermal sytem deposits a higher-T assemblage of granular Fe-rich sphalerite, wurtzite, pyrite and minor Cu-Fe sulphide. Type B sulphide samples are sub-rounded, spongy-textured fragments composed almost entirely of dendritic aggregates of pale Fe-poor colloform sphalerite and opaline silica. This type of sulphide is deposited in settings peripheral to sites of focused discharge and in open spaces by moderate- to low-T fluid discharging at a slow but variable rate; the fluid becomes increasingly oxidizing, resulting in late-stage deposits of hematite, baryte and sulphur.-L.di H.
Additional publication details
Mineralogy and chemistry of massive sulfide deposits from the Juan de Fuca Ridge.