First hydrothermal discoveries on the Australian-Antarctic Ridge: Discharge sites, plume chemistry, and vent organisms

Doshik Hahm, Edward T. Baker, Tae Siek Rhee, Yong Jin Won, Joseph A. Resing, John E. Lupton, Won Kyung Lee, Minjeong Kim, Sung Hyun Park

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22 Scopus citations


The Australian-Antarctic Ridge (AAR) is one of the largest unexplored regions of the global mid-ocean ridge system. Here, we report a multiyear effort to locate and characterize hydrothermal activity on two first-order segments of the AAR: KR1 and KR2. To locate vent sites on each segment, we used profiles collected by Miniature Autonomous Plume Recorders on rock corers during R/V Araon cruises in March and December of 2011. Optical and oxidation-reduction-potential anomalies indicate multiple active sites on both segments. Seven profiles on KR2 found 3 sites, each separated by ∼25 km. Forty profiles on KR1 identified 17 sites, some within a few kilometer of each other. The spatial density of hydrothermal activity along KR1 and KR2 (plume incidence of 0.34) is consistent with the global trend for a spreading rate of ∼70 mm/yr. The densest area of hydrothermal activity, named "Mujin," occurred along the 20 km-long inflated section near the segment center of KR1. Continuous plume surveys conducted in January-February of 2013 on R/V Araon found CH4/3He (1-15 × 106) and CH4/Mn (0.01-0.5) ratios in the plume samples, consistent with a basaltic-hosted system and typical of ridges with intermediate spreading rates. Additionally, some of the plume samples exhibited slightly higher ratios of H2/3He and Fe/Mn than others, suggesting that those plumes are supported by a younger hydrothermal system that may have experienced a recent eruption. The Mujin-field was populated by Kiwa crabs and seven-armed Paulasterias starfish previously recorded on the East Scotia Ridge, raising the possibility of circum-Antarctic biogeographic connections of vent fauna.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3061-3075
Number of pages15
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015

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  • hydrothermal vent
  • intermediate spreading ridge
  • vent organisms


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