Hydrothermal plume anomalies along the Central Indian Ridge Academic Article uri icon


  • Water column turbidity and temperature were investigated along the Central Indian Ridge (CIR) from 25 degrees 19’S to 23 degrees 48’S during a December 2005 cruise on board Chinese R/V DayangYihao. Measurements were made using NOAA’s MAPR (Miniature Autonomous Plume Recorder) sensors during CTD casts, TV grabber operations, and tow-yo profiles, yielding the following results on hydrothermal plume anomalies: (1) Strong hydrothermal turbidity and temperature anomalies were recorded over the previously discovered Kairei (25 degrees 19.2’S, 70 degrees 02.4’E) and Edmond (23 degrees 52.7’S, 69 degrees 35.8’E) vent fields, with the plume anomalies concentrated at depths of 2150-2300 m and 2700-2900 m, respectively. The maximum height of the turbidity anomalies near the Kairei vent field recorded in December 2005 was slightly below 2100 m, which is consistent with the plume depth measured in June 2001, indicating that the Kairei plume may have maintained its buoyancy flux in the intervening 4.5 years. (2) The water column beneath the Kairei plume has background anomalies of about 0.005 Delta NTU, whereas no such background turbidity anomalies were observed below the Edmond hydrothermal plume. (3) No visible turbidity anomalies were detected from 24 degrees 42’S to 24 degrees 12’S including the Knorr Seamount. Thus 24 degrees 12’S marks the southern end of the hydrothermal plume. (4) Significant turbidity anomalies were observed at four individual sections from 24 degrees 12’S to 23 degrees 56’S at the depth of 2500-3000 m along the eastern rift valley wall. Whether the individual sections of anomalies are connected is still unknown due to the absence of data at the intervening gaps. If the four sections are connected with each other and are linked to the Edmond vent field farther to the north, the total along-axis length of the plume anomaly would be more than 37 km, implying a plume incidence value p (h) of 0.38, greater than the predicted p (h) of 0.21-0.25 based on the spreading rate of the Central Indian Ridge.

publication date

  • August 2008