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The deep roots and internal structure of active and extinct seafloor massive sulphide deposits

Project Description

Hydrothermal polymetallic seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) deposits form when seawater circulates within oceanic rocks driven by heat from below. This convection carries hot, metal-rich fluids upwards where they are expelled at the seafloor, and they react with cold seawater, resulting in mound-shaped structures that contain valuable mineral resources. SMS deposits are found at mid-ocean ridges and volcanic provinces. Their small size and the deep-water conditions where they usually occur make them a challenging target for surface seismic methods. In this project we aim at obtaining a complete knowledge of the internal structure and the deep plumbing of massive sulphide deposits. We will use novel ocean bottom seismic techniques to determine the seismic velocity structure of both active and inactive SMS deposits and the crust beneath them, providing new insights into their formation and development, and the three dimensional spatial extent of sub-seafloor sulphide mineralisation. The project will use signals recorded on ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs) from both surface seismic sources and from a seafloor drill, and will include the application of existing methods for the first time in deep-water setting and with the seabed rock drill, to analyse the signals generated by the drill.

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


Murton, B. J., et al. (2019). Geological fate of seafloor massive sulphides at the TAG hydrothermal field (Mid-Atlantic Ridge). Ore Geology Reviews.

Asgharzadeh, M., et al. (2019). Drill bit noise imaging without pilot trace, a near-surface interferometry example. Solid Earth 10(4): 1015-1023.

Bayrakci, G., et al. (2016). Fault-controlled hydration of the upper mantle during continental rifting. Nature Geoscience 9(5): 384.

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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