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Keywords:

  • hydrothermal vents;
  • East Pacific Rise;
  • seafloor eruption;
  • sulfide;
  • iron

Abstract

[1] The chemistry of vent fluids that emanate to the seafloor undergoes dramatic changes after volcanic eruptions. Data on these changes are still limited, but the best studied example is the East Pacific Rise (EPR) at 9°50′N, where the temporal evolution of the vent fluid chemistry after the 1991/1992 eruption was documented. The area underwent another eruption sequence during late 2005/early 2006, and here we show that a similar evolution is recurring in the iron and sulfide contents of the high-temperature fluids sampled in June 2006, January 2007, and June 2008. The vents have had increasing dissolved iron and decreasing acid-volatile sulfide (free sulfide plus FeS) concentrations with 1 order of magnitude variation. In addition, chromium reducible sulfide (mainly pyrite) also had fivefold decreasing concentrations over the 3 years. Our results confirm a pattern that was noted only once before for 9°50′N EPR and emphasize the dramatic yearly variability in the concentrations of iron-sulfur species emanating from vents.