Iron and sulfide nanoparticle formation and transport in nascent hydrothermal vent plumes

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Findlay A. J., Estes E. R., Gartman A., YÜCEL M., Kamyshny A., Luther G. W.

NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, vol.10, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41467-019-09580-5
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Deep-sea hydrothermal vents are a significant source of dissolved metals to the global oceans, producing midwater plumes enriched in metals that are transported thousands of kilometers from the vent source. Particle precipitation upon emission of hydrothermal fluids controls metal speciation and the magnitude of metal export. Here, we document metal sulfide particles, including pyrite nanoparticles, within the first meter of buoyant plumes from three high-temperature vents at the East Pacific Rise. We observe a zone of particle settling 10-20 cm from the orifice, indicated by stable sulfur isotopes; however, we also demonstrate that nanoparticulate pyrite (FeS2) is not removed from the plume and can account for over half of the filtered Fe (<= 0.2 mu m) up to one meter from the vent orifice. The persistence of nanoparticulate pyrite demonstrates that it is an important mechanism for near-vent Fe stabilisation and highlights the potential role of nanoparticles in element transport.