Heat flow, morphology, pore fluids and hydrothermal circulation in a typical Mid-Atlantic Ridge flank near Oceanographer Fracture Zone

Abstract : Hydrothermal circulation affects heat and mass transfers in the oceanic lithosphere, not only at the ridge axis but also on their flanks, where the magnitude of this process has been related to sediment blanket and seamounts density. This was documented in several areas of the Pacific Ocean by heat flow measurements and pore water analysis. However, as the morphology of Atlantic and Indian ridge flanks is generally rougher than in the Pacific, these regions of slow and ultra-slow accretion may be affected by hydrothermal processes of different regimes. We carried out a survey of two regions on the eastern and western flanks of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Oceanographer and Hayes fracture zones. Two hundred and eight new heat flow measurements were obtained along six seismic profiles, on 5 to 14 Ma old seafloor. Thirty sediment cores (from which porewaters have been extracted) have been collected with a Kullenberg corer equipped with thermistors thus allowing simultaneous heat flow measurement. Most heat flow values are lower than those predicted by purely conductive cooling models, with some local variations and exceptions: heat flow values on the eastern flank of the study area are more variable than on the western flank, where they tend to increase westward as the sedimentary cover in the basins becomes thicker and more continuous. Heat flow is also higher, on average, on the northern sides of both the western and eastern field regions and includes values close to conductive predictions near the Oceanographer Fracture Zone. All the sediment porewaters have a chemical composition similar to that of bottom seawater (no anomaly linked to fluid circulation has been detected). Heat flow values and pore fluid compositions are consistent with fluid circulation in volcanic rocks below the sediment. The short distances between seamounts and short fluid pathways explain that fluids flowing in the basaltic aquifer below the sediment have remained cool and unaltered. Finally, relief at small-scale is calculated using variogram of bathymetry and compared for different regions affected by hydrothermal circulation.
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V. Le Gal, F. Lucazeau, M. Cannat, J. Poort, C. Monnin, et al.. Heat flow, morphology, pore fluids and hydrothermal circulation in a typical Mid-Atlantic Ridge flank near Oceanographer Fracture Zone. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier, 2018, 482, pp.423 - 433. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2017.11.035⟩. ⟨hal-01793115⟩

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