Heat flow and mineralogy of TAG Relict High-Temperature Hydrothermal Zones: Mid-Atlantic Ridge 26°N, 45°W
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Submersible investigations employing heat flow measurements (12 stations), sampling and imagery of the two relict high-temperature hydrothermal zones of the TAG field the Alvin and Mir sulfide zones, elucidate relations between heat sources and mineralization including an active sulfide mound that has been the focus of prior studies. Values of heat flow in the Mir zone and at the margin of the active mound are inversely proportional to distance from adjacent volcanic centers. This observation supports the hypothesis that intrusions at volcanic centers adjacent to the high-temperature hydrothermal zones supply the heat to drive hydrothermal activity. The chronology of hydrothermal deposits in the different zones indicates that the intrusions are episodic with field-wide high-temperature hydrothermal events recurring at intervals of tens of thousands of years, while activity at individual zones may recur at intervals of hundreds to thousands of years. A sequence of hydrothermal deposits ranges to at least 140,000 years ago from massive sulfides forming at the active mound, to recrystallization of sulfides in the active and relict zones, to pyritization of an inactive mound in the Alvin zone; low-temperature mineral phases precipitate before, during and after the sulfides.