Alice Springs Vent



Latitude: 18.267οN             Longitude: 144.683οE                   Depth: 3790 m bsl

The Alice Springs field is located on the flank of an axial volcano of basaltic andesite in the Mariana Trough spreading axis (Yamaoka et al., 2015). Most of the surrounding area consists of pillow basalts commonly covered by thin sediments, while hydrothermal vents are limited to a small area where the microbial mats grow well (Asada et al., 2007). This field vents clear fluids with a maximum temperature of 280-287οC (Gamo et al., 2004). The chemical and isotope characteristics of the hydrothermal fluids suggest that this hydrothermal system is a sediment-starved backarc type (Gamo et al., 1997). The main ore minerals in the chimneys are wurtzite, chalcopyrite and tetrahedrite-tennantite. Anhydrite and barite are also abundant (Iwaida et al., 2005).

Table 1: Operations history for Alice Springs vent

Ship/ Platform Operation Year Dive Number References
KR02-14 Kairei Magnetometric Resistivity experiment 2002  Not found Seama et al., 2011
R/V Atlantis II/ Alvin Not found 1987 April 1839, 1843, 1845 Asada et al., 2007;

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: ROV JASON/MEDEA: Operations Summary (note: click “Files- operations summary”), Hessler et al., 1989

Shinkai 6500 Not found 1992 September 140 Craddock et al., 1995
R/V Folker (FK151121) CTD, AUV Sentry 2015 December 368 FK151121 cruise report

Table 2: Vent activity and host rocks

Activity and Host Rocks References
Activity Active Iwaida et al., 2005
Host Rocks Basalt InterRidge Vents Database Ver. 3.3
Basaltic Andesite Yamaoka et al., 2015

Table 3: Vent fluid characteristics

Vent Fluids References
Temperature (οC) 238-287 Gamo, 1995
pH 3.9-4.4 Gamo, 1995
Composition Clear smoker fluids Gamo et al., 2004
CO2 (mM) 43.4 Gamo, 1995
Mn (μM) 295 Gamo, 1995
Fe (μM) 6.4 Gamo, 1995
Alkalinity (mM) 0.1-0.4 Gamo, 1995
H2S (mM) 2.5 Gamo, 1995

Table 4: Vent biology

General name Phylum Order Family Species References
Actinians (Anemones) Cnidaria Gamo et al., 1997
Barnacle Arthropoda Neoverruca


InterRidge Vents Database Ver. 3.3

Watanabe et al., 2005

Brachyuran Crabs Arthropoda InterRidge Vents Database Ver. 3.3
Big snail Mollusca Alviniconcha


Gamo et al., 2004
Galatheid crabs Mollusca Gamo et al., 2004
Hairy gastropods Mollusca InterRidge Vents Database Ver. 3.3


Mollusca Austinograea williamsi Hessler et al., 1989
Mytilids Mollusca Craddock et al., 1995
Polychaetes Annelida InterRidge Vents Database Ver. 3.3
Shrimp Arthropoda InterRidge Vents Database Ver. 3.3
Snail Mollusca Gastropoda Lepetodrilidae Pseudorimula marianae Hasegawa et al., 1997
Snail Mollusca Gastropoda Neomphalidae Symmetromphalus regularis Hasegawa et al., 1997
White whelk Gamo et al., 1997

None known

Video Links:


  1. Asada, M., Deschamps, A., Fujiwara, T., Nakamura, Y., 2007. Submarine lava flow emplacement and faulting in the axial valley of two morphologically distinct spreading segments of the Mariana back-arc basin from Wadatsumi side-scan sonar images. Geophys. Geosyst., 8 (4) doi:10.1029/2006GC001418.
  2. Craddock, C., Hoeh, W. R., Gustafson, R. G., Lutz, R. A., Hashimoto, J., Vrijenhoek, R. J. 1995. Evolutionary relationships among deep-sea mytilids (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) from hydrothermal vents and cold-water methane/sulfide seeps. Marine Biology, 121(3), 477-485.
  3. Gamo, T., Masuda, H., Yamanaka, T., Okamura, K., Ishibashi, J., Nakayama, E., Obata, H., Shitashima, K., Nishio, Y., Hasumoto, H., Watanabe, M., Mitsuzawa, K., Seama, N., Tsunogai, U., Kouzuma, F., Sano, Y., 2004. Discovery of a new hydrothermal venting site in the southernmost Mariana Arc. Geochemical Journal 38, 527-534.
  4. Gamo, T., Tsunogai, U., Ishibashi, J., Masuda, H., Chiba, H., 1997. Chemical characteristics of hydrothermal fluids from the Mariana Trough. JAMSTEC J. Deep-Sea Res. Spec. Volume: Deep Sea Research in Subduction Zones, Spreading Centers and Backarc Basins, 69-74.
  5. Gamo, T., 1995. Wide variation of chemical characteristics of submarine hydrothermal fluids due to secondary modification processes after high temperature water-rock interaction: a review. Biogeochemical processes and ocean flux in the western Pacific. 425-451.
  6. Hasegawa, K., Fujikura, K., Okutani, T., 1997. Gastropod fauna associated with hydrothermal vents in the Mariana back-arc Basin: summary of the results of 1996 “Shinkai 6500” dives. JAMSTEC Journal of Deep Sea Research, 13, 69-83.
  7. Hessler, R. R., Martin, J. W., 1989. Austinograea williamsi, new genus, new species, a hydrothermal vent crab (Decapoda: Bythograeidae) from the Mariana Back-Arc Basin, western Pacific. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 645-661.
  8. Iwaida, C., Ueno, H., 2005. Ore and gangue minerals of seafloor hydrothermal deposits in the Mariana Trough. JAMSTEC Report of Research and Development 1, 1–12.
  9. Seama, N., Shibata, Y., Kimura, M., Shindo, H., Matsuno, T., Nogi, Y., Okino, K., 2011. Upper mantle electrical resistivity structure beneath back-arc spreading centers. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting (Abstracts) 1, p. 4.
  10. Watanabe, H., Tsuchida, S., Fujikura, K., Yamamoto, H., Inagaki, F., Kyo, M., Kojima, S., 2005. Population history associated with hydrothermal vent activity inferred from genetic structure of neoverrucid barnacles around Japan. Marine Ecology Progress Series 288, 233-240.
  11. Yamaoka, K., Hong, E., Ishikawa, T., Gamo, T., Kawahata, H., 2015. Boron isotope geochemistry of vent fluids from arc/back-arc seafloor hydrothermal systems in the western Pacific. Chemical Geology 392, 9-18.

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