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  Understanding the transport of hydrothermal vent fluids
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Physical Oceanography

One of the important overall goals of the VENTS program is the understanding of the rate of transport of hydrothermal vent fluids away from the source in the horizontal and vertical directions. Among the methods used to study this are arrays of miniature temperature recorders, current meters moored at undersea vent sites and event response moorings.

Circulation around ridges and seamounts in the deep ocean is complicated, and topographic interactions can cause variations in flow including intensification along a ridge, cross-axis flow, ridge trapping of eddies at some scales, and generation of other eddies by the venting process. The circulation patterns and physical processes are important in dispersing hydrothermal plumes from their sources and incorporating them into the general ocean circulation. Flow characteristics are critical input for flux estimates and modeling studies that indicate hydrothermal venting significantly affects the thermal and chemical budgets of the ocean.


current flow image

Moored Current Meter Experiments
Measurements of currents are used in tandem with modeling studies to discern the spatial distributions of currents and their changes.
  ridge flow pattern image Local and Regional CTD Surveys
CTD surveys are used to determine flow patterns across and away from the ridge. These are combined with modeling studies to understand motion over ridges and seamounts.
  float trajectory image Monitoring and Event Response Moorings
RAFOS floats deployed in the neutrally buoyant plumes (largest total heat input), as well as in Event plumes (largest short term heat input), increase our understanding how these plumes become incorporated into the regional circulation.

Address inquiries to:

Ed Baker - Temperature and optical measurements
Bill Lavelle - Numerical modeling
John Lupton - Chemical tracers

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