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  image of Monolith Vent
Black "smoke" from entrained particles flowing from Monolith Vent at North Cleft. Click for full size.

VENTS Suspended Matter Project

Dr. Joe Resing - Principal Investigator

Mr. James F. Gendron

Mr. Geoff T. Lebon

The primary objective of the VENTS Suspended Matter Project is to quantitatively 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. The program is designed to determine the relationships between the magnitude of the hydrothermal emission signal and the regional distribution, transport and temporal variability of conservative and nonconservative chemical species over distances up to several tens to hundreds of kilometers away from the ridge axis. Studies of the chemistry of hydrothermal precipitates at the vent fields on the Southern Juan de Fuca Ridge and Southern East Pacific Rise delineated the relationships between magmatic heat supply, hydrothermal cooling, and hydrothermal plume extent over the ridge axis.

Recent results from the Southern East Pacific Rise indicate that hydrothermal scavenging processes between 10° and 30°S remove approximately 6 - 25% of the total hydrothermal phosphorus sink in the oceans. Plume inventories of particulate phosphorus on the SEPR were as much as 15 - 100 times higher than had been observed on any other hydrothermal vent field on the global ridgecrest system. This means that the Southern East Pacific Rise between 10° and 30°S is the center of the most robust hydrothermal system on the surface of the planet.

  Related publications:  
  image of plume model  

Visualization of the hydrothermal particulate plume based on nephelometer voltage data collected at the CoAxial eruption site on the Juan de Fuca Ridge in July 1993.

Journal Article on the Coaxial Eruption

  image of plume model  

Visualization of the particulate iron concentration in the event plume based on nephelometer voltage data collected near the Gorda Ridge eruption site in June 1996.

Recent Article on the Gorda Ridge Eruption

  graph of particle concentration  

Distribution of total suspended matter along the East Pacific Rise from 13°S to 18°S. These samples were collected in November - December 1993.

Journal Article on the Southern East Pacific Rise

  image of CTD deployment  

Deployment of a submersible pump sampling system for the collection of hydrothermal particulates. This instrument automatically takes a sample every two weeks throughout the year.

Journal Article on Phosphorus and Vanadium

  graphic of circulation processes  

Idealized view of bottom seawater circulation through the ocean crust. In circulation cell A there is no contact with sediment. In cell B, downwelling seawater contacts sediment thus allowing for sediment-water interactions.

Journal Article on Phosphate Removal

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