Central Trough Vent



Latitude: 18.047οN                  Longitude: 144.753οE             Depth: 3680 m bsl

The Central Trough site is located in the Mariana back-arc basin near 18οN where the Mariana Trough is widest (Fryer, 1996; Hawkins et al., 1990). Estimated total opening rates for the BAB range from ~30 mm/yr (magnetic data) and to <43 mm/yr (dating basal sediments) (Martinez et al., 2000). Chimneys and ochreous oxide mud mounds are present. Hawkins et al. (1990) marked this as a high temperature (250οC-290οC) site. According to Alvin submersible dive 1832 in 1987 there are active sulfide-sulfate chimneys surrounded by low mounds of hydrothermal precipitates (Hawkins et al., 1990).  Hawkins et al. (1990) further note this area is heavily colonized by gastropods, brachyuran crabs and anemones.

Note: Central Trough is the fourth site of the four vent sites described by Hessler et al., 1991.

Table 1: Operations history for Central trough vent

Ship/ Platform Operation Year Dive Number References
R/V Atlantis II/ Alvin Not found 1987 Spring 1832 Hawkins et al., 1990
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 InterRidge Vents Database Ver. 3.3
Host Rocks Basalt and minor Back-arc Basin Basalt InterRidge Vents Database Ver. 3.3

Table 3: Vent fluid characteristics

Vent Fluids References
Temperature (οC) 290 οC InterRidge Vents Database Ver. 3.3
Full spreading rate (mm/yr) 32.3 InterRidge Vents Database Ver. 3.3

Table 4: Vent Biology

General name Phylum References
Anemones Cnidaria Hawkins et al., 1990
Brachyuran crabs Arthropoda Hawkins et al., 1990
Gastropods Mollusca Hawkins et al., 1990


  • Oxide sediment partly blanketing pillow lava side-slope of the axial ridge downslope from the mound shown in frame. Dive 1832, 3720 m (Hawkins et al., 1990).
  • Top of a 10 m-high oxide mound, with delicate fingers of soft precipitate. Dive 1832, 3660 m (Hawkins et al., 1990).
  • Active sulfide-sulfate chimneys surrounded by a low mound of hydrothermal precipitates, heavily colonized by gastropods, brachyuran crabs and anemones. Dive 1832, 3675 m (Hawkins et al., 1990).

Video Links: None known


  1. Fryer, P, 1996. Evolution of the Mariana convergent plate margin system. Reviews of Geophysics 31 (1), 89-125.
  2. Hawkins, J. W., Lonsdale, P. F., Macdougall, J. D., Volpe, A. M., 1990. Petrology of the axial ridge of the Mariana Trough backarc spreading center. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 100, 226-250.
  3. Hessler, R. R., Lonsdale, P. F., 1991. Biogeography of Mariana Trough hydrothermal vent communities. Deep Sea Research 4 (2), 185-199.
  4. Martinez, F., Fryer, P., 2000. Geophysical characteristics of the southern Mariana Trough, 11ο50’N-13ο40’N. Journal of Geophysical Research 105 (B7), 16,591-16,607.

Website References:

  1. International cooperation in ridge-crest studies: InterRidge Vents Database Version 3; (accessed 12/01/2015).

Website References:

  1. FK151121 – Hydrothermal Hunt on the Mariana Back-arc – R/V Falkor; (accessed 2/22/2017).