Subseafloor seawater-basalt-microbe reactions: Continuous sampling of borehole fluids in a ridge flank environment

C. Geoffrey Wheat, Hans W. Jannasch, Andrew T. Fisher, Keir Becker, Jessica Sharkey, Samuel Hulme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Hole 1301A was drilled, cased, and instrumented with a long-term, subseafloor observatory (CORK) on the eastern flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge in summer 2004. This borehole is located 1 km south of ODP Hole 1026B and 5 km north of Baby Bare outcrop. Hole 1301A penetrates 262 m of sediment and 108 m of the uppermost 3.5 Ma basaltic basement in an area of warm (64C) hydrothermal circulation. The borehole was instrumented, and those instruments were recovered 4 years later. Here we report chemical data from two continuous fluid samplers (OsmoSamplers) and temperature recording tools that monitored changes in the state of borehole (formation) fluids. These changes document the effects of drilling, fluid overpressure and flow, seawater-basalt interactions, and microbial metababolic activity. Initially, bottom seawater flowed into the borehole through a leak between concentric CORK casing strings. Eventually, the direction of flow reversed, and warm, altered formation fluid flowed into the borehole and discharged at the seafloor. This reversal occurred during 1 week in September 2007, 3 years after drilling operations ceased. The composition of the formation fluid around Hole 1301A generally lies within bounds defined by springs on Baby Bare outcrop (to the south) and fluids that discharged from Hole 1026B (to the north); deviations likely result from reactions with drilling products. Simple conservative mixing of two end-member fluids reveals reactions occurring within the crust, including nitrate reduction presumably by denitrifying microbes. The observed changes in borehole fluid composition provide the foundation for a conceptual model of chemical and microbial change during recharge of a warm ridge-flank hydrothermal system. This model can be tested through future scientific ocean drilling experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberQ07011
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Volume11
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010

Keywords

  • CORK
  • hydrothermal borehole
  • ridge flank
  • subseafloor
  • water-rock reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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