The Wakamiko submarine crater is a small depression located in Kagoshima Bay, southwest Japan. Marine shallow-water hydrothermal activity associated with fumarolic gas emissions at the crater sea floor (water depth 200 m) is considered to be related with magmatic activity of the Aira Caldera. During the NT05-13 dive expedition conducted in August 2005 using remotely operated vehicle Hyper-Dolphine (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology), an active shimmering site was discovered (tentatively named the North site) at approximately 1 km from the previously known site (tentatively named the South site). Surface sediment (up to 30 cm) was cored from six localities including these active sites, and the alteration minerals and pore fluid chemistry were studied. The pore fluids of these sites showed a drastic change in chemical profile from that of seawater, even at 30 cm below the surface, which is attributed to mixing of the ascending hydrothermal component and seawater. The hydrothermal component of the North site is estimated to be derived from a hydrothermal aquifer at 230°C based on the hydrothermal end-member composition. Occurrence of illite/smectite interstratified minerals in the North site sediment is attributed to in situ fluid-sediment interaction at a temperature around 150°C, which is in accordance with the pore fluid chemistry. In contrast, montmorillonite was identified as the dominant alteration mineral in the South site sediment. Together with the significant low potassium concentration of the hydrothermal end-member, the abundant occurrence of low-temperature alteration mineral suggests that the hydrothermal aquifer in the South site is not as high as 200°C. Moreover, the montmorillonite is likely to be unstable with the present pore fluid chemistry at the measured temperature (117°C). This disagreement implies unstable hydrothermal activity at the South site, in contrast to the equilibrium between the pore fluid and alteration minerals in the North site sediment. This difference may reflect the thermal and/or hydrological structure of the Wakamiko Crater hydrothermal system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology