Marine Geophysical Researches

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 137–153 | Cite as

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

  • Richard N. Hey
  • Gary J. Massoth
  • Robert C. Vrijenhoek
  • Peter A. Rona
  • John Lupton
  • David A. Butterfield
Article

Abstract

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 Rise hydrothermal vents seafloor spreading vent biology vent chemistry vent flux 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard N. Hey
    • 1
  • Gary J. Massoth
    • 2
  • Robert C. Vrijenhoek
    • 3
  • Peter A. Rona
    • 4
  • John Lupton
    • 5
  • David A. Butterfield
    • 6
  1. 1.Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and TechnologyUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Geological and Nuclear SciencesLower HuttNew Zealand
  3. 3.Monterey Bay Aquarium Research InstituteMoss LandingUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences and Department of Geological SciencesRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  5. 5.NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental LaboratoryNewportUSA
  6. 6.Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and OceanUniversity of WashingtonUSA

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