Estimate of heat flux and its temporal variation at the TAG hydrothermal mound, Mid-Atlantic Ridge 26°N
von Herzen, Richard P.
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From August 1994 to March 1995, three 50-m-high vertical thermistor arrays designated “Giant Kelps” (GKs) were deployed around the central black smoker complex (CBC) at the TAG hydrothermal mound, Mid-Atlantic Ridge (26°08primeN, 44°49primeW). These were designed to monitor the temporal variability of the vertical temperature distribution in the hydrothermal plume. One small high-temperature probe “Hobo” was also deployed in one of the black smoker vents of CBC. Over the observation period, two typical characteristics are recognized in plume temperatures measured with GKs: (1) the amplitudes of temperature anomalies decrease with increasing height above the top of CBC; (2) maximum temperature anomalies on the upper thermistors occurred periodically and nearly simultaneously across the array about every 6 hours. Conversely, maximum temperature anomalies on the lower thermistors occurred periodically every 12 hours, indicating that the location of the plume discharged from CBC was forcibly moved by the change in direction of tidally modulated current flow. The heat flux from CBC was estimated from temperatures measured by GKs based on a model of buoyant hydrothermal fluid rising in a stable, stratified density environment. The estimated heat flux from CBC gradually decreases from about 86 to 55 MW over the ~7 months of measurement, with a mean rate of decrease of 0.17 MW d-1. Since the black smoker effluent temperature measured with Hobo was almost stable over the measurement period, a plausible cause of the decrease is a reduction in the volume of hydrothermal fluid provided to the CBC (in which case the estimated mean rate of decrease in volume flux of CBC is 8.9 m3 d-1). Estimated heat flux, temperature anomalies observed by Hobo, and diffuse flow and subbottom temperature anomalies recorded by other long-term monitoring instruments before, during, and after ODP Leg 158 indicate that the drilling probably affected the fluid flow pattern within the mound but had little effect on the total heat flux from CBC.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2003. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research 108, B9 (2003): 2434, doi:10.1029/2001JB000703.
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