Marine Geophysical Researches

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 137–153

Hydrothermal Vent Geology and Biology at Earth’s Fastest Spreading Rates


    • Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and TechnologyUniversity of Hawaii
  • Gary J. Massoth
    • Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences
  • Robert C. Vrijenhoek
    • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • Peter A. Rona
    • Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences and Department of Geological SciencesRutgers University
  • John Lupton
    • NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
  • David A. Butterfield
    • Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and OceanUniversity of Washington

DOI: 10.1007/s11001-005-1887-x

Cite this article as:
Hey, R.N., Massoth, G.J., Vrijenhoek, R.C. et al. Mar Geophys Res (2006) 27: 137. doi:10.1007/s11001-005-1887-x


Earth’s fastest present seafloor spreading occurs along the East Pacific Rise near 31°–32° S. Two of the major hydrothermal plume areas discovered during a 1998 multidisciplinary geophysical/hydrothermal investigation of these mid-ocean ridge axes were explored during a 1999 Alvin expedition. Both occur in recently eruptive areas where shallow collapse structures mark the neovolcanic axis. The 31° S vent area occurs in a broad linear zone of collapses and fractures coalescing into an axial summit trough. The 32° S vent area has been volcanically repaved by a more recent eruption, with non-linear collapses that have not yet coalesced. Both sites occur in highly inflated areas, near local inflation peaks, which is the best segment-scale predictor of hydrothermal activity at these superfast spreading rates (150 mm/yr).

Key words:

East Pacific Risehydrothermal ventsseafloor spreadingvent biologyvent chemistryvent flux

Copyright information

© Springer 2006