Mineralogical and geochemical evidence for hydrothermal activity at the west wall of 12°50′N core complex (Mid-Atlantic ridge): a new ultramafic-hosted seafloor hydrothermal deposit?

Marine Geology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Dredging along the west wall of the core complex at 12°50′N Mid-Atlantic Ridge sampled a number of black oxyhydroxide crusts and breccias cemented by black and dark brown oxyhydroxide matrix. Black crusts found on top of basalt clasts (rubble) are mainly composed of Mn-oxides (birnessite, 10-Å manganates) with thin films of nontronite and X-ray amorphous FeOOH on their surfaces. Their chemical composition (low trace- and rare earth-element contents, high Li and Ag concentrations, rare earth element distribution patterns with negative both Ce and Eu anomalies), Sr–Nd–Pb-isotope systematic and O-isotope data suggest low-temperature (~ 20 °C) hydrothermal deposition from a diffuse vent area on the seafloor. Mineralogical, petrographic and geochemical investigations of the breccias showed the rock clasts were hydrothermally altered fragments of MORBs. Despite the substantial mineralogical changes caused by the alteration the Sr–Nd–Pb-isotope ratios have not been significantly affected by this process. The basalt clasts are cemented by dark brown and black matrix. Dark brown cement exhibits geochemical features (very low trace- and rare earth- element contents, high U concentration, rare earth element distribution pattern with high positive Eu anomaly) and Nd–Pb-isotope systematics (similar to that of MORB) suggesting that the precursor was a primary, high-temperature Fe-sulfide, which was eventually altered to goethite at ambient seawater conditions. The data presented in this work points towards the possible existence of high- and low-temperature hydrothermal activity at the west wall of the core complex at 12°50′N Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Tectonic setting at the site implies that the proposed hydrothermal field is possibly ultramafic-hosted.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mineralogical and geochemical evidence for hydrothermal activity at the west wall of 12°50′N core complex (Mid-Atlantic ridge): a new ultramafic-hosted seafloor hydrothermal deposit?
Series title Marine Geology
DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2011.09.002
Volume 288
Issue 1-4
Year Published 2011
Language English
Description 13 p.
Larger Work Title Elsevier
First page 90
Last page 102
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N