Geological background of the Kairei and Edmond hydrothermal fields along the Central Indian Ridge: Implications of their vent fluids’ distinct chemistry

Authors

  • H. KUMAGAI,

    1. Precambrian Ecosystem Laboratory, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan
    2. Institure for Research on Earth Evolution (IFREE), Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • K. NAKAMURA,

    1. Precambrian Ecosystem Laboratory, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan
    2. Frontier Research Center for Energy and Resources (FRCER), School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • T. TOKI,

    1. Department of Chemical Oceanography, Ocean Research Institute (ORI), The University of Tokyo, Minamidai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • T. MORISHITA,

    1. Frontier Science Organization, Kanazawa University, Kakuma, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • K. OKINO,

    1. Department Ocean Floor Geoscience, Ocean Research Institute (ORI), The University of Tokyo, Minamidai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • J.-i. ISHIBASHI,

    1. Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Faculty of Science, Kyushu University, Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • U. TSUNOGAI,

    1. Earth and Planetary System Science, Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • S. KAWAGUCCI,

    1. Department of Chemical Oceanography, Ocean Research Institute (ORI), The University of Tokyo, Minamidai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • T. GAMO,

    1. Department of Chemical Oceanography, Ocean Research Institute (ORI), The University of Tokyo, Minamidai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • T. SHIBUYA,

    1. Precambrian Ecosystem Laboratory, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • T. SAWAGUCHI,

    1. Department of Infomatics and Media Technology, Shohoku College, Atsugi, Kanagawa, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • N. NEO,

    1. Graduate School of Science and Technology, Niigata University, Ikarashi, Niigata, Niigata, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. JOSHIMA,

    1. Geological Survey of Japan, AIST, Higashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • T. SATO,

    1. Department Ocean Floor Geoscience, Ocean Research Institute (ORI), The University of Tokyo, Minamidai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author
  • K. TAKAI

    1. Precambrian Ecosystem Laboratory, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan
    2. Subground Animalcule Retrieval (SUGAR) Project, Extremobiosphere Research Center (XBR), Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan
    Search for more papers by this author

Corresponding author: Hidenori Kumagai, Research Scientist, Research Program for Mantle-Core Dynamics, Institute for Research on Earth Evolution (IFREE), JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology), 2-15 Natushima-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 237-0061, Japan.
Email: Kumagai@jamstec.go.jp. Tel: +81-46-867-9333. Fax: +81-46-867-9315.

Abstract

Hydrogen-rich hydrothermal areas, such as those in the Indian Ocean, may have had an influence on early evolution of life on Earth and thus have attracted interest because they may be a proxy for ancient ecosystems. The Kairei and Edmond hydrothermal fields in the Indian Ocean are separated by 160 km, but exhibit distinct fluid chemistry: Kairei fluids are hydrogen-rich; Edmond fluids are hydrogen-poor. At this region, the Central Indian Ridge shows an intermediate spreading rate, 48 mm year−1 as full rate, where the hydrothemal fields occur. Kairei field vent fluids show persistently high concentrations of H2. The Kairei field seems to be unique among hydrogen-enriched hydrothermal regions: most similar hydrogen-rich hydrothermal activity occurs along slowly spreading ridge, <40 mm year−1. The geological and tectonic aspects of the Kairei and Edmond hydrothermal fields were studied to try to elucidate geological constraints on hydrogen production. Visual observations of the seafloor near Kairei from a submersible revealed olivine-rich plutonic rocks with olivine gabbro-troctolite-dunite assemblages exposed within 15 km of the vent field, with serpentinized ultramafic mantle rocks on the Oceanic Core Complex (OCC). The OCC area might be a recharge zone of Kairei hydrothermal activity producing H2-rich vent fluids. The chaotic seafloor within 30 km of the Kairei field reflects a magma-starved condition persisting there for 1 Myr. Asymmetric geomagnetic and gravity anomalies near the Kairei field can be used to infer that patchy olivine-rich intrusions are scattered within mantle ultramafics, where infiltrated seawater reacts with magma and ultramafic rocks or olivine-rich rocks. The heterogeneous uppermost lithosphere containing shallow olivine-rich rock facies surrounding the Kairei field provides abundant H2 into the vent fluid through serpentinization. The hydrogen-rich Kairei field is hosted by basalt, with mafic-ultramafic olivine-rich lithology; the ordinary, hydrogen-poor Edmond field is hosted by a normal basaltic lithology. The contrasting geochemical signatures of the two fields reported here can also be found in ancient rocks from a juvenile Earth. This suggests that lithology-controlled generation of hydrogen may have operated for a long time and be relevant to the origin of life on Earth.

Ancillary