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Testing the links between magmatic, tectonic and climate controls on hydrothermal activity at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Project Description

Project Rationale:
High temperature hydrothermal activity at mid-ocean ridges is driven mainly by magmatic heat and crystallization and responds to structural processes that open-up and maintain fluid pathways from the interior of the ocean crust to the seafloor. Project ULTRA seeks to understand the 3D structure and composition of ultramafic-hosted hydrothermal deposits. These deposits are unusual in that they form on the ridge flanks in areas of structural exhumation of mantle rock, by detachment faulting and with minimal volcanic expression. This phenomenon raises questions about the heat source and tectonic controls on hydrothermal activity. Additionally, there is evidence from other locations at mid-ocean ridges that hydrothermal activity responds to climate-forced sea-level changes[1, 2]. This project aims to explore the fourth dimension, the changes of hydrothermal activity over time, by using different geochemical approaches to identify the history of hydrothermal activity and detachment faulting for several ultramafic-hosted hydrothermal systems at 13°N, Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR).

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibilty and how to apply


[1] Middleton J. L., Langmuir C. H., Mukhopadhyay S., McManus J. F. and Mitrovica J. X. (2016) Hydrothermal iron flux variability following rapid sea-level changes. Geophys. Res. Lett. Available at:
[2] Lund D. C., Asimow P. D., Farley K. A., Rooney T. O., E S., Jackson E. W. and Durham Z. M. (2016) Enhanced East Pacific Rise hydrothermal activity during the last two glacial terminations. Science (80-. ). 351, 600–604.
[3] Cherkashov G. A. (1995) Hydrothermal input into sediments of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Geol. Soc. London, Spec. Publ. 87, 223–229. Available at:

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

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