Diffuse flow from hydrothermal vents
Trivett, D. Andrew
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LocationSouthern Juan de Fuca Ridge
The effluent from a collection of diffuse hydrothennal vents was modelled to determine the fate of this source of flow under typical environmental conditions at seafloor spreading centers. A laboratory simulation was conducted to test an analytic model of diffuse plume rise. The results showed that diffuse plumes are likely to remain near the seafloor, with their maximum rise height scaled with the diameter of the source of diffuse flow. The entrainment of ambient seawater into these plumes is limited by the proximity to the seafloor, thus slowing the rate of dilution. The model of diffuse plume behaviour was used to guide the design and implementation of a scheme for monitoring the flow from diffuse hydrothermal vents in the ocean. A deployment of an array at the Southern Juan de Fuca Ridge yielded measurements of a variety of diffuse plume properties, including total heat output. Two distinct sources of hydrothermal flow were detected during the field deployment. The larger source was 1-1 .5km north of the instrument array. and its energy output was 450±270MW. A smaller source was located 100m east of one instrument in the array. The energy output of this source was 12±8MW. The rise heights of the centerlines of these plumes were 45m and 10m, respectively.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution June 1991
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