Post-drilling changes in fluid discharge pattern, mineral deposition, and fluid chemistry in the Iheya North hydrothermal field, Okinawa Trough

Shinsuke Kawagucci, Junichi Miyazaki, Ryota Nakajima, Tatsuo Nozaki, Yutaro Takaya, Yasuhiro Kato, Takazo Shibuya, Uta Konno, Yuzuru Nakaguchi, Kenta Hatada, Hisako Hirayama, Katsunori Fujikura, Yasuo Furushima, Hiroyuki Yamamoto, Tomo O. Watsuji, Jun Ichiro Ishibashi, Ken Takai

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33 Citations (Scopus)


The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 331 investigated the Iheya North hydrothermal field in the Okinawa Trough. Several post-drilling underwater vehicle investigations were conducted over 2 years to identify post-drilling changes in fluid discharge pattern, mineral deposition, and fluid chemistry. Drilling-induced high-temperature hydrothermal fluid vents were identified at deep holes not only near the naturally occurring NBC hydrothermal fluid vent (Site C0016) but also at the seafloor ∼450 m distal to the NBC vent (Site C0014), where no hydrothermal fluid discharge was observed prior to drilling. A chimney structure at Hole C0016A grew rapidly at the NBC mound crest, where only small chimneys had been found before drilling. A drilling-induced diffuse hydrothermal flow region spread at Site C0014, and this area was newly colonized by the galatheid crab. From a fluid chemistry perspective, the post-drilling hydrothermal fluids were enriched in Cl relative to seawater, although this fluid chemistry was not observed during the 12 years prior to drilling. The Cl-enriched fluid reservoir underlying the subseafloor impermeable layers, observed by IODP Expedition 331, is likely source for the Cl-enriched fluids discharging from the post-drilling vents. The drilling-induced physical disturbance of subseafloor hydrogeological structures would release such fluids to the seafloor. In turn, the rapid chimney growth at the NBC mound crest may also be attributed to highly turbulent fluid flow with the enlarged artificial vent of Hole C0016A, which can contribute to the retention of the fluid-seawater mixture for a sufficiently long period to precipitate sulfide/sulfate minerals on the seafloor. Key Points Seven post-drilling underwater ROV investigations were conducted over 2 years Fluid discharge pattern, mineral deposition, and fluid chemistry were changed Physical disturbance of subseafloor structure induced the post-drilling changes

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4774-4790
Number of pages17
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2013


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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