Mercury and monomethylmercury in fluids from Sea Cliff submarine hydrothermal field, Gorda Ridge
Lamborg, Carl H.
Von Damm, Karen L.
Fitzgerald, William F.
Hammerschmidt, Chad R.
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Submarine hydrothermal systems are hypothesized to be a potentially important source of monomethylmercury (MMHg) to the ocean, yet the amount of MMHg in vent fluids is unknown. Here, we report total Hg and MMHg concentrations in hydrothermal vent fluids sampled from the Sea Cliff site on the Gorda Ridge. MMHg is the dominant Hg species, and levels of total Hg are enhanced slightly compared to seawater. Hg is enriched in deposits surrounding the site, suggesting near-field deposition from fluid plumes, with rapid MMHg demethylation and scavenging of Hg(II) complexes. Assuming the flux of MMHg from Sea Cliff is representative of global submarine hydrothermal inputs, we estimate a flux of 0.1–0.4 Mmoles y−1, which may be attenuated by scavenging near the vents. However, deep waters are not typically known to be elevated in Hg, and thus we suggest that hydrothermal systems are not significant sources of MMHg to commercial fisheries.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2006. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 33 (2006): L17606, doi:10.1029/2006GL026321.
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