The discovery of hydrothermal systems at mid-ocean ridges in the late 1970s was one of the most exciting achievements in oceanography â€“ not least because of its importance for different fields of geosciences. Hydrothermal systems efficiently mine heat from the young ocean crust, thermal springs at the seafloor host unique ecosystems in extreme environmental conditions and commercially interesting high-quality ore deposits form as a byproduct of hydrothermal venting.
Much has been learned from marine surveys of mid-ocean ridge segments and direct observations of vent sites at the ocean floor. The deep chemical and physical processes that control hydrothermalism remain, however, largely inaccessible to direct sampling and observations. Understanding those remote physicochemical processes requires interdisciplinary research including experiments of fluid-rock interaction, theoretical work on the thermodynamics of the key reactions, numerical simulations of reactive transport through fractured rock, detailed seafloor imaging and sampling, and studies of fossil hydrothermal systems at ophiolite complexes.
This session aims at bringing together researchers working in these different fields to discuss the recent advances in cross-disciplinary research on deep-sea hydrothermal systems.