A block of sulfide crust collected from an active hydrothermal mound in an Archaean site (12°56.4'N, 143°37.9'E; depth ca. 3000 m) of the South Mariana Trough was dated using both 230Th/234U disequilibrium and electron spin resonance (ESR) methods to establish the growth duration. Eight subsamples from the sulfide crust were separated further into magnetic and non-magnetic fractions using a Franz isodynamic separator. Thirteen sulfide samples, soluble in nitric acid, yielded 230Th/234U ages of 0.3-2.2 ka. The magnetic fractions had significantly lower Th/U ratios, which enabled age determinations as precise as ±2% (2σ). The age distribution obtained for the section of sulfide crust analyzed is consistent with deposition of sulfide minerals from the upper surface of the crust to the inner side. The 230Th/234U ages of the sulfide minerals were compared with ESR ages of barites separated from 12 subsamples of the same sulfide crust. ESR ages of 0.27-1.3 ka show a spatial pattern broadly resembling that observed in 230Th/234U dating method. While there are some significant offsets, these results illustrate the potential of the two methods for use in investigation of the evolutional history of a hydrothermal system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)