Sven Petersen,2 Peter M. Herzig,2 and Mark D. Hannington3


The active Trans-Atlantic Geotraverse (TAG) hydrothermal mound is a mature submarine massive sulfide deposit at the slow-spreading Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 26°N. Fluid inclusion measurements were conducted on quartz and anhydrite from six boreholes drilled in different areas of the mound to characterize the fluids responsible for the deposition of sulfide-silica breccias and anhydrite and to investigate the vertical and horizontal temperature zonation within an actively forming hydrothermal system. Fluid inclusions in both host minerals are generally two phase liquid/vapor inclusions that homogenize into the liquid phase. Trapping temperatures for quartz and anhydrite from the TAG mound range from 212° to 390°C. Salinities vary from 1.9 to 6.2 wt% NaCl equivalent for anhydrite and from 4.0 to 6.0 wt% NaCl equivalent for quartz. This salinity variation is probably best explained by supercritical phase separation at temperatures above 450°C with subsequent remixing of the liquid and the vapor phase during ascent. A zone of anhydrite-rich precipitates recovered at 20 to 35 mbsf below the central Black Smoker Complex (TAG-1) is characterized by trapping temperatures averaging 348°C for anhydrite and 358°C for quartz, which is slightly below the exit temperature of hydrothermal fluids presently venting at the Black Smoker Complex (360°-366°C). Breccias in the stockwork zone underlying the anhydrite zone were formed at slightly higher temperatures ranging from 327°-381°C for quartz and from 349° to 384°C for anhydrite. Trapping temperatures vary strongly between different areas of the mound. Fluid inclusions in quartz and anhydrite from the central Black Smoker Complex are characterized by a narrow range of trapping temperatures, whereas other areas drilled on the mound were influenced by lower temperature hydrothermal fluids percolating through the mound or by local entrainment of seawater into the mound. White smokers venting on the southeastern side of the TAG mound are characterized by exit temperatures of 270°-300°C, (Kremlin area, TAG-2). Fluid inclusion measurements in quartz and anhydrite from this area give trapping temperatures in the range of 266°-375°C with a distinct peak around 340°C, only somewhat lower than results for the Black Smoker Complex. Trapping temperatures in anhydrite-hosted fluid inclusions in this area show a strong vertical temperature increase. The west side of the mound (TAG-4) is characterized by trapping temperatures ranging from 212° to 390°C showing evidence for seawater entrainment or overprinting by lower temperature hydrothermal events at the sulfide/basalt interface. Samples from the northern side of the mound (TAG-5) exhibit trapping temperatures in the range from 258°->383°C with a strong vertical temperature increase, indicating additional high-temperature upflow at the northern margin of the mound outside the central Black Smoker Complex.

1Herzig, P.M., Humphris, S.E., Miller, D.J., and Zierenberg, R.A. (Eds.), 1998. Proc. ODP, Sci. Results, 158: College Station, TX (Ocean Drilling Program).
2Lehrstuhl für Lagerstättenlehre, Institut für Mineralogie, Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, Brennhausgasse 14, D-09596 Freiberg, Federal Republic of Germany. Petersen: petersen@mineral.tu-freiberg.de
3Geological Survey of Canada, 601 Booth Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E8, Canada.