Heavy metals from Kueishantao shallow-sea hydrothermal vents, offshore northeast Taiwan.

Chen, Xue-Gang, Lyu, Shuang-Shuang, Garbe-Schönberg, Dieter, Lebrato, Mario, Li, Xiaohu, Zhang, Hai-Yan, Zhang, Ping-Ping, Chen, Chen-Tung Arthur and Ye, Ying (2018) Heavy metals from Kueishantao shallow-sea hydrothermal vents, offshore northeast Taiwan. Journal of Marine Systems, 180 . DOI 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2016.11.018.

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Shallow water hydrothermal vents are a source of heavy metals leading to their accumulation in marine organisms that manage to live under extreme environmental conditions. This is the case at Kueishantao (KST) shallow-sea vents system offshore northeast Taiwan, where the heavy metal distribution in vent fluids and ambient seawater is poorly understood. This shallow vent is an excellent natural laboratory to understand how heavy and volatile metals behave in the nearby water column and ecosystem. Here, we investigated the submarine venting of heavy metals from KST field and its impact on ambient surface seawater. The total heavy metal concentrations in the vent fluids and vertical plumes were 1–3 orders of magnitude higher than the overlying seawater values. When compared with deep-sea hydrothermal systems, the estimated KST end-member fluids exhibited much lower concentrations of transition metals (e.g., Fe and Mn) but comparable concentrations of toxic metals such as Pb and As. This may be attributed to the lower temperature of the KST reaction zone and transporting fluids. Most of the heavy metals (Fe, Mn, As, Y, and Ba) in the plumes and seawater mainly originated from hydrothermal venting, while Cd and Pb were largely contributed by external sources such as contaminated waters (anthropogenic origin). The spatial distribution of heavy metals in the surface seawater indicated that seafloor venting impacts ambient seawater. The measurable influence of KST hydrothermal activity, however, was quite localized and limited to an area of < 1 km². The estimated annual fluxes of heavy metals emanating from the yellow KST hydrothermal vent were: 430–2600 kg Fe, 24–145 kg Mn, 5–32 kg Ba, 10–60 kg As, 0.3–1.9 kg Cd, and 2–10 kg Pb. This study provides important data on heavy metals from a shallow-sea hydrothermal field, and it helps to better understand the environmental impact of submarine shallow hydrothermal venting.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Heavy metals, Hydrothermal activity, Kueishantao, Spatial distribution, Correlation analysis, Environmental impact
Research affiliation: Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R03
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2016.11.018
ISSN: 0924-7963
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2017 18:13
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 09:08
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/36633

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