Gorda Ridge pp 155-167 | Cite as

Hydrothermal Plume Prospecting: Hydrographic and Geochemical Techniques

  • Edward T. Baker
Conference paper


Hydrothermal plumes, formed by the mixing of hot vent fluids and ambient seawater, can be used to locate, characterize, and quantify sources of seafloor hydrothermal emissions. Vent fluids typically undergo a 104-fold dilution as they rise several hundred meters above the sea floor and form neutrally buoyant plumes with heat and chemical anomalies that stretch tens to thousands of kilometers downcurrent of their source. Real-time mapping of these plumes by towing sensitive hydrographie and optical sensors from a surface ship can efficiently locate the plume source, guide discrete chemical sampling of the diluted hydrothermal fluids, and estimate the heat and mass flux of individual vent fields. This paper uses case histories of investigations along the Juan de Fuca and Gorda Ridges to describe strategies for mapping and characterizing hydrothermal plumes at spatial scales ranging from hundreds of meters to hundreds of kilometes.


Geothermal Field Potential Density Hydrothermal Field Buoyant Plume Hydrothermal Plume 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

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  • Edward T. Baker

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