Oceanography > Issues > Archive > Volume 25, Issue 1

2012, Oceanography 25(1):209–212, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2012.19

Measuring the Form of Iron in Hydrothermal Plume Particles

Authors | Background | Full Article | Citation | References


Brandy M. Toner | Department of Soil, Water, and Climate, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN, USA

Matthew A. Marcus | Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA

Katrina J. Edwards | Departments of Biological Sciences and Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Olivier Rouxel | Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer, Department of Marine Geoscience, Technopole Brest-Iroise, France

Christopher R. German | Geology and Geophysics Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA



The global mid-ocean ridge (MOR) system is a 60,000 km submarine volcanic mountain range that crosses all of the major ocean basins on Earth. Along the MOR, subseafloor seawater circulation exchanges heat and elements between the oceanic crust and seawater. One of the elements released through this venting process is iron. The amount of iron released by hydrothermal venting to the ocean per year (called a flux) is similar in magnitude to that in global riverine runoff (Elderfield and Schultz, 1996). Until recently, measurements and modeling activities to understand the contribution of hydrothermal iron to the ocean budget have been largely neglected. It was thought that hydrothermal iron was removed completely from seawater by precipitation of iron-bearing minerals within plumes and then deposited at the seafloor close to vent sites. With this assumption in place, the contribution of hydrothermal fluxes to the ocean budget was considered negligible. Recent work, however, questions the validity of that assumption, and leads to what we call the "leaky vent" hypothesis. Our goal is to measure the forms of iron, known as speciation, present in hydrothermal plume particles to better understand the bioavailability, geochemical reactivity, and transport properties of hydrothermal iron in the ocean.


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Toner, B.M., M.A. Marcus, K.J. Edwards, O. Rouxel, and C.R. German. 2012. Measuring the form of iron in hydrothermal plume particles. Oceanography 25(1):209–212, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2012.19.



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