Hydrothermal alteration of upper oceanic crust formed at a fast-spreading ridge: mineral, chemical, and isotopic evidence from ODP Site 801


Alt, J.C. and Teagle, D.A.H. (2003) Hydrothermal alteration of upper oceanic crust formed at a fast-spreading ridge: mineral, chemical, and isotopic evidence from ODP Site 801. Chemical Geology, 201, (3-4), 191-211. (doi:10.1016/S0009-2541(03)00201-8).

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Description/Abstract

ODP Hole 801C penetrates >400 m into 170-Ma oceanic basement formed at a fast-spreading ridge. Most basalts are slightly (10-20%) recrystallized to saponite, calcite, minor celadonite and iron oxyhydroxides, and trace pyrite. Temperatures estimated from oxygen isotope data for secondary minerals are 5-100 [deg]C, increasing downward. At the earliest stage, dark celadonitic alteration halos formed along fractures and celadonite, and quartz and chalcedony formed in veins from low-temperature (2O; local increases in FeT, Ba, Th, and U; and local losses of Mg and Ni.Secondary carbonate veins have 87Sr/86Sr=0.706337-0.707046, and a negative correlation with [delta]18O results from seawater-basalt interaction. Carbonates could have formed at any time since the formation of Site 801 crust. Variable [delta]13C values (-11.2[permil] to 2.9[permil]) reflect the incorporation of oxidized organic carbon from intercalated sediments and changes in the [delta]13C of seawater over time.Compared to other oceanic basements, a major difference at Site 801 is the presence of two hydrothermal silica-iron deposits that formed from low-temperature hydrothermal fluids at the spreading axis. Basalts associated with these horizons are intensely altered (60-100%) to phyllosilicates, calcite, K-feldspar, and titanite; and exhibit large increases in K, Rb, Cs, Ba, H2O, and CO2, and losses of FeT, Mn, Mg, Ca, Na, and Sr. These effects may be common in crust formed at fast-spreading rates, but are not ubiquitous. A second important difference is that the abundance of brown oxidation halos along fractures at Site 801 is an order of magnitude less than at some other sites (2% vs. 20-30%). Relatively smooth basement topography (<100 m) and high sedimentation rate (8 m/Ma) probably restricted the access of oxygenated seawater. Basement lithostratigraphy and early low-temperature hydrothermal alteration and mineral precipitation in fractures at the spreading axis controlled permeability and limited later flow of oxygenated seawater to restricted depth intervals.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0009-2541 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: Ocean Drilling Program; Site 801; Hydrothermal systems; Midocean ridge; Isotope geochemistry
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
ePrint ID: 2084
Date Deposited: 11 May 2004
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:00
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/2084

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