Deep-sea geofluid systems, such as hydrothermal vents and cold seeps, are key to understanding subseafloor environments of Earth. Fluid chemistry, especially, provides crucial information toward elucidating the physical, chemical, and biological processes that occur in these ecosystems. To accurately assess fluid and gas properties of deep-sea geofluids, well-designed pressure-tight fluid samplers are indispensable and as such they are important assets of deep-sea geofluid research. Here, the development of a new flow-through, pressure-tight fluid sampler capable of four independent sampling events (two subsamples for liquid and gas analyses from each) is reported. This new sampler, named WHATS-3, is a new addition to the WHATS-series samplers and a major upgrade from the previous WHATS-2 sampler with improvements in sample number, valve operational time, physical robustness, and ease of maintenance. Routine laboratory-based pressure tests proved that it is suitable for operation up to 35 MPa pressure. Successful field tests of the new sampler were also carried out in five hydrothermal fields, two in Indian Ocean, and three in Okinawa Trough (max. depth 3,300m). Relations of Mg and major ion species demonstrated bimodal mixing trends between a hydrothermal fluid and seawater, confirming the high quality of fluids sampled. The newly developed WHATS-3 sampler is well-balanced in sampling capability, field usability, and maintenance feasibility, and can serve as one of the best geofluid samplers available at present to conduct efficient research of deep-sea geofluid systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)