Hydrothermal heat flux of the "black smoker" vents on the East Pacific Rise

Ken C. Macdonald, Keir Becker, F. N. Spiess, R. D. Ballard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


Active hydrothermal vents have been discovered on the East Pacific Rise at 21°N [1]. The most spectacular of the vents jet out 350°C water at flow rates of several meters per second. The heat loss associated with a single vent of this type is three to six times the total theoretical heat loss for a 1-km segment of ridge out to 1 m.y. age. This underscores the importance of hydrothermal circulation in the heat budget of mid-ocean ridges. It also requires that vent activity of this type be highly episodic rather than steady state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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