Geologic setting of PACManus hydrothermal area — High resolution mapping and in situ observations Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • This study presents a systematic analysis and interpretation of autonomous underwater vehicle-based microbathymetry combined with remotely operated vehicle (ROV) video recordings, rock analyses and temperature measurements within the PACManus hydrothermal area located on Pual Ridge in the Bismarck Sea of eastern Manus Basin. The data obtained during research cruise Magellan-06 and So-216 provides a framework for understanding the relationship between the volcanism, tectonism and hydrothermal activity. PACManus is a submarine felsic vocanically-hosted hydrothermal area that hosts multiple vent fields located within several hundred meters of one another but with different fluid chemistries, vent temperatures and morphologies. The total area of hydrothermal activity is estimated to be 20,279 m2. The microbathymetry maps combined with the ROV video observations allow for precise high-resolution mapping estimates of the areal extents of hydrothermal activity. We find the distribution of hydrothermal fields in the PACManus area is primarily controlled by volcanic features that include lava domes, thick and massive blocky lava flows, breccias and feeder dykes. Spatial variation in the permeability of local volcanic facies appears to control the distribution of venting within a field. We define a three-stage chronological sequence for the volcanic evolution of the PACManus based on lava flow morphology, sediment cover and lava SiO2 concentration. In Stage-1, sparsely to moderately porphyritic dacite lavas (68 - 69.8 wt. % SiO2) erupted to form domes or cryptodomes. In Stage-2, aphyric lava with slightly lower SiO2 concentrations (67.2 – 67.9 wt. % SiO2) formed jumbled and pillowed lava flows. In the most recent phase Stage-3, massive blocky lavas with 69 to 72.5 wt. % SiO2 were erupted through multiple vents constructing a volcanic ridge identified as the PACManus neovolcanic zone. The transition between these stages may be gradual and related to progressive heating of a silicic magma following a recharge event of hot, mantle-derived melts.

publication date

  • September 2014