Geological fate of seafloor massive sulphides at the tag hydrothermal field (mid-atlantic ridge).

Murton, Bramley J., Lehrmann, Berit, Dutrieux, Adeline M., Martins, Sofia, Gil de la Iglesia, Alba, Stobbs, Iain J., J.A.S. Barriga, Fernando, Bialas, Jörg , Dannowski, Anke , Vardy, Mark.E., North, Laurence J., Yeo, Isobel A., Lusty, Paul A.J. and Petersen, Sven (2019) Geological fate of seafloor massive sulphides at the tag hydrothermal field (mid-atlantic ridge). Open Access Ore Geology Reviews, 107 . pp. 903-925. DOI 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2019.03.005.

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Abstract

Highlights

• Generic geological model of hydrothermally extinct seafloor massive sulphide.
• Sub-surface characterisation by combined drilling and geophysics.
• New resource estimate for slow-spreading mid-ocean ridges.
• Holistic approach to seafloor mineral deposits assessment.

Abstract

Deep-sea mineral deposits potentially represent vast metal resources that could make a major contribution to future global raw material supply. Increasing demand for these metals, many of which are required to enable a low-carbon and high-technology society and to relieve pressure on land-based resources, may result in deep sea mining within the next decade. Seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) deposits, containing abundant copper, zinc, gold and silver, have been the subject of recent and ongoing commercial interest. Although many seafloor hydrothermally systems have been studied, inactive SMS deposits are likely to more accessible to future mining and far more abundant, but are often obscured by pelagic sediment and hence difficult to locate. Furthermore, SMS deposits are three dimensional. Yet, to date, very few have been explored or sampled below the seafloor. Here, we describe the most comprehensive study to date of hydrothermally extinct seafloor massive sulphide deposits formed at a slow spreading ridge. Our approach involved two research cruises in the summer of 2016 to the TAG hydrothermal field at 26°N on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. These expeditions mapped a number of hydrothermally extinct SMS deposits using an autonomous underwater vehicle and remotely operated vehicle, acquired a combination of geophysical data including sub-seafloor seismic reflection and refraction data from 25 ocean bottom instruments, and recovered core using a sub-seafloor drilling rig. Together, these results that have allowed us to construct a new generic model for extinct seafloor massive sulphide deposits that indicate the presence of up to five times more massive sulphide at and below the seafloor than was previously thought.

Document Type: Article
Funder compliance: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/FP7/604500
Keywords: Seafloor massive sulphide, seafloor drilling, seismic imaging, high-resolution mapping
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems > Marine Mineralische Rohstoffe
NOC
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2019.03.005
ISSN: 0169-1368
Related URLs:
Projects: Blue Mining
Expeditions/Models/Experiments:
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2019 08:36
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2019 16:09
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/46234

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