Soluble, Colloidal, and Particulate Iron Across the Hydrothermal Vent Mixing Zones in Broken Spur and Rainbow, Mid-Atlantic Ridge


Yuecel M. , Sevgen S., Le Bris N.

FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY, vol.12, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.631885
  • Title of Journal : FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY
  • Keywords: hydrothermal vents, iron, redox, nanoparticles, marine ecosystems, deep sea, EAST PACIFIC RISE, SEAWATER-BASALT INTERACTION, PLUME PARTICLES, DISSOLVED IRON, OCEAN BIOGEOCHEMISTRY, CHEMICAL-EXCHANGE, ULTRAMAFIC ROCKS, ORGANIC-CARBON, 500 BARS, FLUIDS

Abstract

The slow-spreading Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) forms geological heterogeneity throughout the ridge system by deep crustal faults and their resultant tectonic valleys, which results in the existence of different types of hydrothermal vent fields. Therefore, investigating MAR hydrothermal systems opens a gate to understanding the concentration ranges of ecosystem-limiting metals emanating from compositionally distinct fluids for both near-field chemosynthetic ecosystems and far-field transport into the ocean interiors. Here, we present novel data regarding onboard measured, size-fractionated soluble, colloidal, and particulate iron concentrations from the 2018 R/V L'Atalante - ROV Victor research expedition, during which samples were taken from the mixing zone of black smokers using a ROV-assisted plume sampling. Iron size fractionation (<20, 20-200, and >200nm) data were obtained from onboard sequential filtering, followed by measurement via ferrozine assay and spectrophotometric detection at 562nm. Our results showed the persistent presence of a nanoparticulate/colloidal phase (retained within 20-200nm filtrates) even in high-temperature samples. A significant fraction of this phase was retrievable only under treatment with HNO3 - a strong acid known to attack and dissolve pyrite nanocrystals. Upon mixing with colder bottom waters and removal of iron in the higher parts of the buoyant plume, the larger size fractions became dominant as the total iron levels decreased, but it was still possible to detect significant (micromolar) levels of nanoparticulate Fe even in samples collected 5m above the orifice in the rising plume. The coolest sample (<10 degrees C) still contained more than 1 mu M of only nitric acid-leachable nanoparticle/colloidal, at least 200 times higher than a typical Fe concentration in the non-buoyant plume. Our results support previous reports of dissolved Fe in MAR vent plumes, and we propose that this recalcitrant Fe pool - surviving immediate precipitation - contributes to maintaining high hydrothermal iron fluxes to the deep ocean.