Principle Investigator: Roy Price
The subsurface geochemical processes controlling the composition of discharging hydrothermal fluids are a function of many factors including fluid-mineral equilibria, phase separation, magmatic inputs, mineral precipitation, and mixing. While these processes have been well defined for deep-sea systems along mid-ocean ridges, and more recently at back-arc basins, much less is known about the subsurface processes taking place at shallow-sea hydrothermal vents. Furthermore, shallow-sea vents occur within the photic zone, and can have meteoric water (meteorically derived groundwater is more accurate) as a potential source fluid. These characteristics, combined with their occurrence in lower pressure environments, makes shallow-sea hydrothermal vents exciting yet understudied targets for coastal element cycling and associated biota.
Unlike deep-water systems found at mid-ocean ridges and back-arc environments, hydrothermal venting in shallower depths allow the possibility of utilizing SCUBA diving for sample collection and in situ measurements, and thus remove the complicated use of manned submersibles or ROVs. SCUBA diving plays a major role in my research, as it provides the opportunity for improved, higher resolution, and time series data not possible by conventional means.