The submersible Alvin was used to investigate 3 active hydrothermal discharge sites along the S Juan de Fuca Ridge in September 1984. The hydrothermal zones occur within a 10-30m-deep, 30-50m-wide cleft marking the center of the axial valley. This cleft is the eruptive locus for the axial valley. The hydrothermal vents coincide with the main eruptive vents along the cleft. Each hydrothermal zone has multiple discharge sites extending as much as 500m along the cleft. Sulfide deposits occur as clusters (15-100m2 area) of small chimneys (= or <2m high) and as individual and clustered fields of large, branched chimneys (= or <10m high). Recovered sulfide samples are predominantly the tops of chimneys and spires and typically contain more than 80% sphalerite and wurtzite with minor pyrrhotite, pyrite, marcasite, isocubanite, chalcopyrite, anhydrite, anhydrite, and amorphous silica. The associated hydrothermal fluids have the highest chlorinity of any reported to date.-Authors
Additional publication details
Submarine fissure eruptions and hydrothermal vents on the southern Juan de Fuca Ridge: preliminary observations from the submersible Alvin.