Hydrothermal deposition on the Juan de Fuca Ridge over multiple glacial–interglacial cycles


Costa KM, McManus JF, Middleton JL, Langmuir CH, Huybers PJ, Winckler G, Mukhopadhyay S. Hydrothermal deposition on the Juan de Fuca Ridge over multiple glacial–interglacial cycles. Earth and Planetary Science Letters [Internet]. 2017;479 :120 - 132.


Hydrothermal systems play an important role in modern marine chemistry, but little is known about how they may have varied on 100,000 year timescales. Here we present high-resolution records of non-lithogenic metal fluxes within sediment cores covering the last 500,000 years of hydrothermal deposition on the flanks of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Six adjacent, gridded cores were analyzed by x-ray fluorescence for Fe, Mn, and Cu concentrations, corrected for lithogenic inputs with Ti, and normalized to excess initial 230Th to generate non-lithogenic metal flux records that provide the longest orbitally resolved reconstructions of hydrothermal activity currently available. Fe fluxes vary with global sea level over the last two glacial cycles, suggesting higher hydrothermal deposition during interglacial periods. The observed negative relationship between Fe and Mn indicates variable sediment redox conditions and diagenetic remobilization of sedimentary Mn over time. Thus, Mn fluxes may not be a reliable indicator for hydrothermal activity in the Juan de Fuca Ridge sediment cores. Cu fluxes show substantial high-frequency variability that may be linked to changes in vent temperature related to increased magmatic production during glacial periods. Deglacial hydrothermal peaks on the Juan de Fuca Ridge are consistent with previously published records from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the East Pacific Rise. Moreover, on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, the deglacial peaks in hydrothermal activity are followed by relatively high hydrothermal fluxes throughout the ensuing interglacial periods relative to the previous glacial period.