Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 20 Issue 04

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Volume 20, No. 4
Pages 90 - 99


The Lost City Hydrothermal Field Revisited

By Deborah S. Kelley , Gretchen L. Früh-Green, Jeffery A. Karson, and Kristin A. Ludwig 
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Since the initial discovery of the Lost City Hydrothermal Field in 2000, there have been significant advances in our understanding of the development and evolution of the field, its chemistry, and the associated biota that is, in part, sustained by abiotically produced methane and hydrogen. Results from an Alvin submersible diving program in 2003, supported by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), and from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-funded Ocean Exploration (OE) expedition in 2005 using the robotic vehicles Hercules and Argus, show that the Lost City field is characterized by a combination of extreme conditions never before seen in the marine environment. These conditions include venting of basic, 40–91°C, metal-poor hydrothermal fluids with high concentrations of dissolved hydrogen, methane, and other low-molecular-weight hydrocarbons (Kelley et al., 2005; Ludwig et al., 2006a; Proskurowski et al., 2006). The fluid chemistry is driven by fluid-rock reactions in the underlying ultramafic basement at temperatures up to 200°C, which have supported hydrothermal activity for > 40,000 years (Ludwig et al., 2005).


Kelley, D.S., G.L. Früh-Green, J.A. Karson, and K.A. Ludwig. 2007. The Lost City Hydrothermal Field revisited. Oceanography 20(4):90–99, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.09.

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