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Geological fate of seafloor massive sulphides at the TAG hydrothermal field (Mid-Atlantic Ridge)
Natl Oceanog Ctr, European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH, Hants, England.
Natl Oceanog Ctr, European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH, Hants, England.
Univ Southampton, Waterfront Campus,European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH, Hants, England.
Univ Lisbon, Fac Ciencias, Dept Geol, P-1749016 Lisbon, Portugal;GEOMAR Helmholtz Ctr Ocean Res Kiel, Wischhofstr 1-3, D-24148 Kiel, Germany.
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2019 (English)In: Ore Geology Reviews, ISSN 0169-1368, E-ISSN 1872-7360, Vol. 107, p. 903-925Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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 more accessible to future mining and far more abundant, but are often obscured by pelagic sediment and hence difficult tolocate. 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 (eSMS) deposits formed at a slow spreading ridge. Our approach involved two research cruises in the summer of 2016 to the Trans-Atlantic Geotraverse (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 robotic lander-type seafloor drilling rig. Together, these results that have allowed us to construct a new generic model for extinct seafloor massive sulphide deposits indicate the presence of up to five times more massive sulphide at and below the seafloor than was previously thought.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019. Vol. 107, p. 903-925
Keywords [en]
Seafloor massive sulphide, Seafloor drilling, Seismic imaging, High-resolution mapping
National Category
Geology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-389926DOI: 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2019.03.005ISI: 000470194300053OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-389926DiVA, id: diva2:1340062
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 604500Available from: 2019-08-01 Created: 2019-08-01 Last updated: 2019-08-01Bibliographically approved

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