Pichler Thomas

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  • Preprint
    Geochemistry of hydrothermal fluids from the PACMANUS, Northeast Pual and Vienna Woods hydrothermal fields, Manus Basin, Papua New Guinea
    ( 2010-10-29) Reeves, Eoghan P. ; Seewald, Jeffrey S. ; Saccocia, Peter J. ; Bach, Wolfgang ; Craddock, Paul R. ; Shanks, Wayne C. ; Sylva, Sean P. ; Walsh, Emily ; Pichler, Thomas ; Rosner, Martin
    Processes controlling the composition of seafloor hydrothermal fluids in silicic back-arc or neararc crustal settings remain poorly constrained despite growing evidence for extensive magmatichydrothermal activity in such environments. We conducted a survey of vent fluid compositions from two contrasting sites in the Manus back-arc basin, Papua New Guinea, to examine the influence of variations in host rock composition and magmatic inputs (both a function of arc proximity) on hydrothermal fluid chemistry. Fluid samples were collected from felsic-hosted hydrothermal vent fields located on Pual Ridge (PACMANUS and Northeast (NE) Pual) near the active New Britain Arc and a basalt-hosted vent field (Vienna Woods) located farther from the arc on the Manus Spreading Center. Vienna Woods fluids were characterized by relatively uniform endmember temperatures (273–285°C) and major element compositions, low dissolved CO2 concentrations (4.4mmol/kg) and high measured pH (4.2–4.9 at 25°C). Temperatures and compositions were highly variable at PACMANUS/NE Pual and a large, newly discovered vent area (Fenway) was observed to be vigorously venting boiling (358°C) fluid. All PACMANUS fluids are characterized by negative δDH2O values, in contrast to positive values at Vienna Woods, suggesting substantial magmatic water input to circulating fluids at Pual Ridge. Low measured pH (25°C) values (~2.6 to 2.7), high endmember CO2 (up to 274 mmol/kg) and negative δ34SH2S values (down to -2.7‰) in some vent fluids are also consistent with degassing of acid-volatile species from evolved magma. Dissolved CO2 at PACMANUS is more enriched in 13C (-4.1‰ to -2.3‰) than Vienna Woods (-5.2‰ to -5.7‰), suggesting a contribution of slab-derived carbon. The mobile elements (e.g. Li, K, Rb, Cs and B) are also greatly enriched in PACMANUS fluids reflecting increased abundances in the crust there relative to the Manus Spreading Center. Variations in alkali and dissolved gas abundances with Cl at PACMANUS and NE Pual suggest that phase separation has affected fluid chemistry despite the low temperatures of many vents. In further contrast to Vienna Woods, substantial modification of PACMANUS/NE Pual fluids has taken place as a result of seawater of seawater ingress into the upflow zone. Consistently high measured Mg concentrations, trends of increasingly non-conservative SO4 behavior, decreasing endmember Ca/Cl and Sr/Cl ratios with increased Mg indicate extensive subsurface anhydrite deposition is occurring as a result of subsurface seawater entrainment. Decreased pH and endmember Fe/Mn ratios in higher Mg fluids indicate that the associated mixing/cooling gives rise to sulfide deposition and secondary acidity production. Several low temperature (≤80°C) fluids at PACMANUS/NE Pual also show evidence for anhydrite dissolution and water-rock interaction (fixation of B) subsequent to seawater entrainment. Hence, the evolution of fluid compositions at Pual Ridge reflects the cumulative effects of water/rock interaction, admixing and reaction of fluids exsolved from silicic magma, phase separation/segregation and seawater ingress into upflow zones.
  • Preprint
    Chemistry of hot springs along the Eastern Lau Spreading Center
    ( 2010-12-08) Mottl, Michael J. ; Seewald, Jeffrey S. ; Wheat, C. Geoffrey ; Tivey, Margaret K. ; Michael, Peter J. ; Proskurowski, Giora ; McCollom, Thomas M. ; Reeves, Eoghan P. ; Sharkey, Jessica ; You, Chen-Feng ; Chan, Lui-Heung ; Pichler, Thomas
    The Eastern Lau Spreading Center (ELSC) is the southernmost part of the back-arc spreading axis in the Lau Basin, west of the Tonga trench and the active Tofua volcanic arc. Over its 397-km length it exhibits large and systematic changes in spreading rate, magmatic/tectonic processes, and proximity to the volcanic arc. In 2005 we collected 81 samples of vent water from six hydrothermal fields along the ELSC. The chemistry of these waters varies both within and between vent fields, in response to changes in substrate composition, temperature and pressure, pH, water/rock ratio, and input from magmatic gases and subducted sediment. Hot-spring temperatures range from 229º to 363ºC at the five northernmost fields, with a general decrease to the south that is reversed at the Mariner field. The southernmost field, Vai Lili, emitted water at up to 334°C in 1989 but had a maximum venting temperature of only 121ºC in 2005, due to waning activity and admixture of bottom seawater into the subseafloor plumbing system. Chloride varies both within fields and from one field to another, from a low of 528 mmol/kg to a high of 656 mmol/kg, and may be enriched by phase separation and/or leaching of Cl from the rock. Concentrations of the soluble elements K, Rb, Cs, and B likewise increase southward as the volcanic substrate becomes more silica-rich, especially on the Valu Fa Ridge. Iodine and δ7Li increase southward, and δ11B decreases as B increases, apparently in response to increased input from subducted sediment as the arc is approached. Species that decrease southward as temperature falls are Si, H2S, Li, Na/Cl, Fe, Mn, and 87Sr/86Sr, whereas pH, alkalinity, Ca, and Sr increase. Oxygen isotopes indicate a higher water/rock ratio in the three systems on Valu Fa Ridge, consistent with higher porosity in more felsic volcanic rocks. Vent waters at the Mariner vent field on the Valu Fa Ridge are significantly hotter, more acid and metal-rich, less saline, and richer in dissolved gases and other volatiles, including H2S, CO2, and F, than the other vent fields, consistent with input of magmatic gases. The large variations in geologic and geophysical parameters produced by back-arc spreading along the ELSC, which exceed those along mid-ocean ridge spreading axes, produce similar large variations in the composition of vent waters, and thus provide new insights into the processes that control the chemistry of submarine hot springs.