Evidence for Low-Temperature Diffuse Venting at North Pond, Western Flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

H. W. Villinger, P. Müller, W. Bach, K. Becker, B. N. Orcutt, N. Kaul, C. G. Wheat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


During expedition MSM37 on the German RV Maria S. Merian, bottom water temperature and sediment temperature profiles were measured in the vicinity of North Pond (western flank of Mid-Atlantic Ridge) during exploratory dives with Remotely Operated Vehicle Jason II. In addition, push cores were taken at locations with high sediment temperature gradients. We could identify two locations where sediment temperature gradients exceed 1 K/m and bottom water temperatures showed an anomaly of up to 0.04 °C above background. We interpret these observations as clear indication of low-temperature diffuse venting of fluids that have traveled through the uppermost crust. We can safely assume that the observed phenomena are widespread at ridge flank settings where sediment cover is thin or absent, and hence, we can explain the efficient heat mining on ridge flanks. Due to the difficulties of locating diffuse low-temperature discharge sites and due to the fact that discharge can occur through thin sediment cover as well as through sediment-free basement outcrops, it will be very difficult to quantify fluxes of energy and mass from low-temperature diffuse venting in ridge flank settings; however, thermal anomalies may be used to locate sites of discharge for geochemical, microbial, and hydrologic characterization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2572-2584
Number of pages13
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • diffuse off-axis venting
  • marine geophysics
  • marine hydrogeology
  • western flank of MAR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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