An Intermediate-Depth Source of Hydrothermal 3He and Dissolved Iron In the North Pacific
Ocean Science and Engineering
We observed large water column anomalies in helium isotopes and trace metal concentrations above the Loihi Seamount. The 3He/4He of the added helium was 27.3 times the atmospheric ratio, clearly marking its origin to a primitive mantle plume. The dissolved iron to 3He ratio (dFe:3He) exported to surrounding waters was 9.3 ± 0.3 × 106. We observed the Loihi 3He and dFe “signal” at a depth of 1100 m at several stations within ∼100 – 1000 km of Loihi, which exhibited a distal dFe:3He ratio of ~4 × 106, about half the proximal ratio. These ratios were remarkably similar to those observed over and near the Southern East Pacific Rise (SEPR) despite greatly contrasting geochemical and volcanic-tectonic origins. In contrast, the proximal and distal dMn:3He ratios were both ~1 × 106, less than half of that observed at the SEPR. Dissolved methane was minimally enriched in waters above Loihi Seamount and was distally absent. Using an idealized regional-scale model we replicated the historically observed regional 3He distribution, requiring a hydrothermal 3He source from Loihi of 10.4 ± 4.2 mol a−1, ∼2% of the global abyssal hydrothermal 3He flux. From this we compute a corresponding dFe flux of ∼40 Mmol a−1. Global circulation model simulations suggest that the Loihi-influenced waters eventually upwell along the west coast of North America, also extending into the shallow northwest Pacific, making it a possibly important determinant of marine primary production in the subpolar North Pacific.
Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Shiller, A. E.,
(2020). An Intermediate-Depth Source of Hydrothermal 3He and Dissolved Iron In the North Pacific. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 539.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/17310