Temporal and comparative variability of Iron and Carbon Dioxide of Loihi Seamount hydrothermal systems
Hydrothermal systems are visible representations of geological processes at work. Since their discovery, studies have shown them to be remarkable natural features with unique properties, venting fluids at extreme temperatures and supporting unusual biological communities. This study evaluates the effect of recent eruptions and seismicity on the hydrothermal systems of Loihi, a seamount 34 km south of the largest island of Hawaii, to determine whether the chemical makeup of the plume has changed since the last published measurements were taken in 2006. Determining the differences of the Loihi vent fields over time regarding iron (Fe) and carbon dioxide (CO2) abundance, could give possible insight into certain geological and biological processes creating, sustaining, and continuously transforming these venting systems. Samples were taken of the neutrally buoyant plume at ~1180 m, sampling iron, pH and carbon dioxide. Research was conducted during the cruise on the R/V Thomas G. Thompson taking place between 27 December 2010 and 4 January 2011.