Generation of Seafloor Hydrothermal Vent Fluids and Associated Mineral Deposits Academic Article uri icon


  • In the nearly 30 years since the discovery of hydrothermal venting along open-ocean spreading centers, much has been learned about the generation of vent fluids and associated deposits. The hot, reducing, metal-rich, magnesium- and sulfatepoor hydrothermal fluids that exit “black smoker” and “white smoker” chimneys are formed through interactions of seawater with oceanic crust. These interactions (1) modify the composition of oceanic crust, (2) affect ocean chemistry, (3) form metal-rich deposits (possible analogs to ore deposits present on land), and (4) provide energy sources for biological communities in the deep sea.

publication date

  • March 1, 2007