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Quantifying Variations in Hydrothermal Contributions to the Oceans:Scaling from drill core observations to global models


Project Description

Ocean chemistry reflects a dynamic balance between riverine inputs, biological processing, sediment burial, and hydrothermal exchanges with ocean crust. This project aims to quantify hydrothermal exchange, providing a baseline to investigate vital Earth processes from records of past ocean chemistry. Current models of seawater geochemical evolution generally only consider high temperature hydrothermal venting along ridge axes, ignoring the lower temperature reactions across the vast ridge flanks. Investigating ridge flank exchange requires scientific ocean drilling through thick sediments into the oceanic crust, but our current sampling is biased towards young and very old crust. Dr Coggon is therefore leading an International Ocean Discovery Program experiment to drill an age-transect (7-63 Ma) across the western flank of the Southern Mid-Atlantic ridge (Expeditions 390/393; winter 2020/spring 2021). Core recovery in upper oceanic crust is typically <30%, but careful integration of core observations with continuous downhole logging data allows us to compensate for any resultant sampling bias. Established qualitative approaches that visually match ‘unrolled’ digital images of core exteriors with downhole logging images are labour intensive, and prone to error. This PhD will develop machine-learning approaches to compensate for incomplete core recovery, enabling global extrapolation of observations of hydrothermal exchange in the recovered cores.

References

Coggon & Teagle 2011, Hydrothermal calcium-carbonate veins reveal past ocean chemistry. Trends in Analytical Chemistry, vol 30, 1252-1268, doi:10.1016/j.trac.2011.02.011
Tominaga et al, 2009, Determination of the volcanostratigraphy of oceanic crust formed at superfast spreading ridge: electrofacies analyses of ODP/IODP Hole 1256D. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, vol 10, Q01003, doi.org/10.1029/2008GC002143.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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