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Volcanically hosted venting with indications of ultramafic influence at Aurora hydrothermal field on Gakkel Ridge

Vitenskapelig artikkel
Nature Communications
Eksterne nettsted
Christopher R. German, Eoghan Reeves, Andreas Türke, Alexander Diehl, Elmar Albers, Wolfgang Bach, Autun Purser, Sofia P. Ramalho, Stefano Suman, Christian Mertens, Maren Walter, Eva Ramirez-Llodra, Vera Schlindwein, Stefan Bünz, Antje Boetius


The Aurora hydrothermal system, Arctic Ocean, hosts active submarine venting within an extensive field of relict mineral deposits. Here we show the site is associated with a neovolcanic mound located within the Gakkel Ridge rift-valley floor, but deep-tow camera and sidescan surveys reveal the site to be ≥100 m across—unusually large for a volcanically hosted vent on a slow-spreading ridge and more comparable to tectonically hosted systems that require large time-integrated heat-fluxes to form. The hydrothermal plume emanating from Aurora exhibits much higher dissolved CH4/Mn values than typical basalt-hosted hydrothermal systems and, instead, closely resembles those of high-temperature ultramafic-influenced vents at slow-spreading ridges. We hypothesize that deep-penetrating fluid circulation may have sustained the prolonged venting evident at the Aurora hydrothermal field with a hydrothermal convection cell that can access ultramafic lithologies underlying anomalously thin ocean crust at this ultraslow spreading ridge setting. Our findings have implications for ultra-slow ridge cooling, global marine mineral distributions, and the diversity of geologic settings that can host abiotic organic synthesis - pertinent to the search for life beyond Earth