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Tracing low-temperature fluid flow on ridge flanks with sedimentary uranium distribution

, : Tracing low-temperature fluid flow on ridge flanks with sedimentary uranium distribution. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems - G3 11.8

The uranium content of sediments and pore fluids along a ridge axis to ridge flank transect perpendicular to the southern East-Pacific Rise is used to assess the impact of low-temperature fluid flow on U distribution. Two distinct regions are identified: (1) a young crustal site (0.36 Ma crust) where significant solid phase U enrichments occur and (2) the ridge flank (1.9-4.6 Ma crust) with uniform U association with hydrothermal Fe oxide phases in the solid phases. Upward advection and diffusion of cool, U-depleted basement fluids occurs at many coring sites. At the 0.36 Ma site the oxic basal-fluids strip the plume derived sediment of the excess U, effectively migrating the U upwards through the sediment into the overlying water column. At the ridge flank sites the pore fluid advection rates are highest at bathymetric/basement highs and advection velocities of up to 7.5 mm yr(-1) are inferred from the pore fluid profiles. These estimates are consistent with previous calculations based on fluoride pore fluid distributions. The basal-fluid U depletions are in the range 10-70% relative to seawater depending on temperature and redox state. Low-temperature uptake of U during basalt alteration is a significant sink from seawater in the global seawater U budget (6.7-29 Mmol yr(-1) ). Pore fluid U content is a sensitive tracer of extremely low-temperature (<5 degrees C) and low-velocity (<10 mm yr(-1) ) advection through ridge flank systems and the basal sediment U/Fe ratio is potentially a useful proxy for basement alteration history where low ratios indicate extensive oxic alteration of basal-sediments during fluid flow.


DOI: 10.1029/2010gc003157

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