Detection of methane plumes in the water column of Logatchev hydrothermal vent field, Mid-Atlantic Ridge
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During DY105-17 cruise onboard the R/V “Da Yang Yi Hao” in 2005, methane concentrations in the water column above Logachev hydrothermal vent field were measured by applying stripping/trapping-gas chromatographic (GC) and the distinct methane plumes were detected. Results show that the background methane concentration within the Logachev area is from 1.05 nmol/L to 1.68 nmol/L, significantly higher than the background level of the Atlantic abyssal plain of 0.4–0.5 nmol/L, suggesting that hydrothermal venting is a major source of dissolved methane to the ocean. The highest anomalies of methane concentrations in the water column range from 7.14 nmol/L to 113.9 nmol/L and occur just at 180–500 m above the seafloor. The distribution of methane concentration and the structural characteristics of hydrothermal plumes are strongly influenced by the supply of underlying hydrothermal fluids, the mixing process of ocean bottom currents and the microbial oxidation. Furthermore, the differences in distribution of methane plume between the station MAR-CTD3 and the other stations indicate a probable unknown hydrothermal vent site nearby. There occurs high concentration of methane along with temperature and nephelometry anomalies, which strongly confirms that the subtle measurement of methane concentration in water column is one of the effective ways to locate active sites of hydrothermal venting.
KeywordsLogachev vent field hydrothermal plume methane concentration anomalies
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