Geochemistry at DSDP Leg 70 Holes

The hydrothermal mounds on the southern flank of the Galapagos Spreading Center are characterized by the following main features: 1) They are located over a young basement (0.5 to 0.85 m.y. of age) in a region known for its high sedimentation rate (about 5 cm/10**3 y.) because it is part of the equatorial high biological productivity zone. 2) They are located in a region with generally high heat flow (8 to 10 HFU). The highest heat-flow measurements (up to 10**3 HFU) correspond to mound peaks (Williams et al., 1979), where temperatures up to 15°C were measured during a dive of the submersible Alvin (Corliss et al., 1978). 3) They are often located on small vertical faults which displace the basement by a few meters (Lonsdale, 1977) and affect the 25- to 50-meter-thick sediment cover. Most of these characteristics have also been observed in the other three known cases of hydrothermal deposits with mineral parageneses similar to that of the Galapagos mounds. However, the case of the hydrothermal mounds south of the Galapagos Spreading Center is unique because of the unusual thickness of the hydrothermal deposits present. The mounds are composed of several, up to 4.5-meter-thick, layers of green clays which, in one case (Hole 509B), are overlain by about 1.4 meters of Mn-oxide crust. We suspect that such a large accumulation of hydrothermal products results from the "funnelling" of the hydrothermal solutions exiting from a highly permeable basement along the faults. This chapter reports a preliminary study of those green clays collected by hydraulic piston coring of the Galapagos mounds during Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Leg 70 of the D/V Glomar Challenger. Green clays have also been reported from three presently or recently active hydrothermal areas in or close to spreading centers.

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