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Hydrothermal Vent Geochemistry
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  Hydrothermal circulation occurs when seawater penetrates into the ocean crust, becomes heated, reacts with the crustal rock, and rises to the seafloor. Seafloor hydrothermal systems have a major local impact on the chemistry of the ocean that can be measured in hydrothermal plumes. Some hydrothermal tracers (especially helium) can be mapped thousands of kilometers from their hydrothermal sources, and can be used to understand deep ocean circulation. Because hydrothermal circulaton removes some compounds from seawater (e.g. Mg, SO4) and adds many others (He, Mn, Fe, H2, CO2), it is an important process in governing the composition of seawater.  

Chemistry Program:

Study Areas -



Plume Chemistry

Axial eruption epicenters image   Plume studies have been conducted on the Juan de Fuca Ridge each year since the inception of the VENTS program.  
Axial eruption epicenters image
  Studying the effects of hydrothermal venting on the oceans. At the broadest scale, we are studying the circulation of the deep and
intermediate waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Vent Fluid Chemistry  
whale call spectrogram
  Hydrothermal vents are the interface between the hot, anoxic upflow zone and cold, oxidized seawater.  
  Hydrothermal Particle Chemistry  
  ship noise spectrogram   Assess the effects of submarine
hydrothermal venting from Juan de Fuca and East Pacific Rise ridgecrest systems on the ocean chemistry of
the Pacific Ocean.
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