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Volume 26 Issue 6
Nov.  2015
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Huiqiang Yao, Huaiyang Zhou, Xiaotong Peng, Gaowen He. Sr isotopes and REEs geochemistry of anhydrites from L vent black smoker chimney, East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N. Journal of Earth Science, 2015, 26(6): 920-928. doi: 10.1007/s12583-015-0545-8
Citation: Huiqiang Yao, Huaiyang Zhou, Xiaotong Peng, Gaowen He. Sr isotopes and REEs geochemistry of anhydrites from L vent black smoker chimney, East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N. Journal of Earth Science, 2015, 26(6): 920-928. doi: 10.1007/s12583-015-0545-8

Sr isotopes and REEs geochemistry of anhydrites from L vent black smoker chimney, East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N

doi: 10.1007/s12583-015-0545-8
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  • Corresponding author: Huiqiang Yao, hqyao@163.com Huaiyang Zhou, zhouhy@tongji.edu.cn
  • Received Date: 2015-02-17
  • Accepted Date: 2015-06-03
  • Publish Date: 2015-12-01
  • High resolution sampling, for Sr isotope and REE analyses, was carried out along a transaction of L vent chimney collected from East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N. Sr isotopes show these anhydrites are precipitated from a mixture between hydrothermal fluid and seawater. The calculated relative proportion of seawater and hydrothermal fluid shows that the mixing is heterogeneous on the transection of the L vent chimney. Anhydrites from the chimney show uniform chondrite-normalized REE pattern with enrichment of LREE and positive Eu anomaly. While normalized to the REE of end-member hydrothermal fluid, anhydrites also show uniform REE pattern but with negative Eu anomaly and enrichment of HREE. Combining previous studies on REEs of hydrothermal fluids from different hydrothermal systems and the hydrothermal fluid data from this region, we suggested that REE-anion complexing, rather than crystallography controlling, is the main factor that controls the REE partition behavior in the anhydrite during its precipitation from the mixture of hydrothermal fluid and seawater.
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Sr isotopes and REEs geochemistry of anhydrites from L vent black smoker chimney, East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N

doi: 10.1007/s12583-015-0545-8

Abstract: High resolution sampling, for Sr isotope and REE analyses, was carried out along a transaction of L vent chimney collected from East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N. Sr isotopes show these anhydrites are precipitated from a mixture between hydrothermal fluid and seawater. The calculated relative proportion of seawater and hydrothermal fluid shows that the mixing is heterogeneous on the transection of the L vent chimney. Anhydrites from the chimney show uniform chondrite-normalized REE pattern with enrichment of LREE and positive Eu anomaly. While normalized to the REE of end-member hydrothermal fluid, anhydrites also show uniform REE pattern but with negative Eu anomaly and enrichment of HREE. Combining previous studies on REEs of hydrothermal fluids from different hydrothermal systems and the hydrothermal fluid data from this region, we suggested that REE-anion complexing, rather than crystallography controlling, is the main factor that controls the REE partition behavior in the anhydrite during its precipitation from the mixture of hydrothermal fluid and seawater.

Huiqiang Yao, Huaiyang Zhou, Xiaotong Peng, Gaowen He. Sr isotopes and REEs geochemistry of anhydrites from L vent black smoker chimney, East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N. Journal of Earth Science, 2015, 26(6): 920-928. doi: 10.1007/s12583-015-0545-8
Citation: Huiqiang Yao, Huaiyang Zhou, Xiaotong Peng, Gaowen He. Sr isotopes and REEs geochemistry of anhydrites from L vent black smoker chimney, East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N. Journal of Earth Science, 2015, 26(6): 920-928. doi: 10.1007/s12583-015-0545-8
  • Anhydrite is a unique mineral existing in the hydrothermal system for its retrograde solubility with temperature increasing and has been the focus of many researchers (Chiba et al., 1998; Mills et al., 1998; Teagle et al., 1998a, b, c; Bischoff and Seyfried, 1978) when studying on modern and ancient hydrothermal deposits. However the genesis of anhydrite in modern hydrothermal deposits and ancient hydrothermal deposits is still open to debate. Studies on modern seafloor hydrothermal deposits show that anhydrite was formed by the mixing of ascending hydrothermal solution with seawater (Humphris and Bach, 2005; Teagle et al., 1998c; Humphris, 1998; Shikazono et al., 1983; Sato, 1973), while studies on ancient hydrothermal deposits show that anhydrites can be also formed by the simple heating of seawater due to a decrease in anhydrite solubility with increasing temperature (Kusakabe and Chiba, 1979; Farrell et al., 1978).

    Previous studies on anhydrites show that Sr isotopes can be used to determine the relative proportion of seawater and hydrothermal fluid, trace the evolution of hydrothermal fluid, and identify the origin of anhydrite in different hydrothermal systems, including ancient massive sulfide-sulfate deposits and modern seafloor hydrothermal deposits (Teagle et al., 1998a, b, c; Kusakabe and Chiba, 1979; Farrell et al., 1978, and so on). Thus, Sr isotopes can provide key evidence for the origin of anhydrite in different hydrothermal deposits and improve our understanding of the relative role of seawater and hydrothermal fluid in the formation of modern and ancient massive sulfide deposits.

    REE is a powerful tracer to study the evolution of geochemical systems and has been widely used as a tracer of sub-seafloor processes in hydrothermal systems (Craddock et al., 2010; Lin et al., 2010; Bao et al., 2008; Humphris, 1998; Elderfield, 1988; Owen and Oliverez, 1988). Different seafloor hydrothermal systems show various chondrite-normalized REE patterns. In sediment-starving hydrothermal system, hydrothermal fluid, sulfides and sulfate are generally characterized by positive Eu anomaly and enrichment of LREE (Humphris, 1998; Mills and Elderfield, 1995). By comparison, at Pacmanus hydrothermal field, where magmatic input may exist, hydrothermal fluid and its precipitates are characterized by different REE patterns, with variable Eu anomalies and LREE-depleted and/or enriched (Bach et al., 2003). Anhydrite contains more REE content than sulfide and was considered as the main phase of removing REE from the mixed fluids (Mills and Elderfield, 1995; Mitra et al., 1994). Therefore, anhydrite may be a useful carrier to study the REE geochemistry in different hydrothermal systems.

    Many studies on anhydrite have been concentrated in seafloor hydrothermal systems, however these studies are mainly focused on the anhydrites of stockzone from drilling-cores. Studies on the anhydrites from active black smoker chimney have rarely been reported (Mills and Elderfield, 1995). Anhydrite is prevalent along the transection of L vent black smoker chimney, East Pacific Rise (EPR) 9°N–10°N, which offers a good opportunity to study Sr isotope and REE geochemistry within a sulfide-sulfate chimney. This paper reports high resolution Sr isotope and REE data along a transection of an active black smoker chimney for the first time, and such information may improve our understanding on: (1) the genesis of anhydrite, (2) the mixing condition, and (3) the REE behavior of anhydrites in the active black smoker chimney.

  • Along EPR from north to south, there are lots of hydrothermal vents, with high or low temperature. EPR 9°N–10°N lies to the south of Clipperton transform fault and in a fast-spreading environment. Full spreading rate of this zone is 11 cm/a and water depth along the axial area varies from 2 490 to 2 620 m (Haymon et al., 1993). According to the data from the near-bottom 100 kHz ARGO survey and the thickness of the sediments, the region is divided into 10 geological segments and their relative ages are also determined (Fig. 1). Segments B1 and B2 were judged being the two youngest segments. The ages show an increasing trend from segment B to Segment F with the oldest age at 9°17′N, and then become younger again (Fornari et al., 1998; Haymon et al., 1993, 1991). In B segment, there are many high-temperature vents from north to south, such as N, Q, G, Bio9, P, V, T, J, A, L, H, B, C, R, D, E, K, F and so on. L vent is approximately 500 m south of the A vent site, and located in the narrow axial summit collapse trough. In addition, there exist many low-temperature diffuse flow vents, of which temperature are generally lower than 35 ℃, in this segment (Von Damm and Lilley, 2004; Von Damm, 2000). In contrast to the large sulfide mounds that may typify deposits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, hydrothermal chimneys at the fast-spreading East Pacific Rise in the EPR 9°N–10°N commonly occur as small, discrete individual structures with height rarely exceeding 15 m (Haymon et al., 1991; Bluth and Ohmoto, 1988; Graham et al., 1988; Thompson et al., 1988).

    Figure 1.  (a) General geologic map showing the location of the East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N; (b) detailed geologic map of East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N (modified from Haymon et al., 1991).

  • The black smoker chimney sample was collected by Alvin submersible in Voyage AT-07 in 2002. The location of the chimney sample is 09°46.24′N, 104°16.83′W, with a water depth of 2 510 m. Based on the information of dive log (http://divediscover.sr.unh.edu/011902.html), we believed that the sample was collected from L vent, which belongs to segment B2. There are three channels on the transection, channel A, channel B and channel C (Fig. 2a). The direction of channel A skews to the transaction, but the direction of channel B and channel C are perpendicular to the transection.

    Figure 2.  Fragment of L vent chimney collected from East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N. (a) The top-view of the L vent chimney sample, there are only two channels that can be observed in the transection, channel A and channel B; (b) the transection for anhydrite collection, three channels were observed along the transection.

    Eighteen subsamples were taken along these three channels (Fig. 2b). The subsample was crudely crushed to 100–200 meshes, then repeatedly cleaned by Millipore water and dried at 30 ℃. Approximately 20 mg of anhydrite was hand-picked under a binocular, then dissolved with 1 mL 2.5 N HCl at 100–120 ℃ for about 24 h in Teflon vessels with an 84Sr spike added. The solutions were then evaporated to dryness at 100 ℃ and were dissolved again with 2 mL 2.5 N HCl, and then were volumetrically splitted with half being used for the Sr isotopic composition, and half being used for the REE determination. Sr was separated in a 5 mL AG 50W-X12 (200–400) anionic resin exchange column. Strontium isotopic composition was determined by MAT 262 at the laboratory for radiogenic isotope geochemistry of Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The repeated analysis of NIST SRM 987 gave 87Sr/86Sr=0.710 248±0.000 012 (2σ, n=30). The measurements of REE were carried out by inductively-coupled-plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS), PQ-Excell at National Research Center of Geoanalysis, Chinese Academy of Geological Science. Based on the repeated analysis of samples, the analytical precision was considered as less than 10%.

  • Table 1 presents the 87Sr/86Sr ratios of anhydrites from the transection of the active black smoker chimney in EPR 9°N–10°N, and 87Sr/86Sr ratios of anhydrites from other hydrothermal systems were also included for comparison. The 87Sr/86Sr ratios of anhydrites from L vent chimney vary from 0.705 510 to 0.707 607 and fall within the overall range between 0.705 136 and 0.709 128 for anhydrites from both drill core and submersible collection at the TAG mound (Mills et al., 1998; Teagle et al., 1998a, b, c; Mills and Elderfield, 1995). Contrasting to Sr isotopic compositions of anhydrites from other hydrothermal systems, the Sr isotopic compositions of L vent anhydrites are similar to those of anhydrites from Grimsey hydrothermal field (0.706 081–0.707 625, mean=0.706 616, n=10) (Kuhn et al., 2003), and slightly higher than those of anhydrites from TAG hydrothermal mound, including black smoker chimney and white smoker chimney (0.705 360– 0.706 669, mean=0.705 704, n=3) (Mills and Elderfield, 1995). While contrasting to Sr isotopic compositions of anhydrites from stockzone, the Sr isotopic compositions of L vent anhydrites are lower than those of anhydrites from the inner of TAG hydrothermal mound (Humphris and Bach, 2005; Mills et al., 1998) and Kuroko massive sulfide-sulfate deposits (Ogawa et al., 2007), but higher than that from ODP 504B core (Teagle et al., 1998c).

    Sample* 87Sr/86Sr ±2σ SW% Sample 87Sr/86Sr±2σ ±2σ SW%
    S1 0.707 272 ±0.000 012 77 S9 0.707 607 ±0.000 011 82
    S2 0.707 467 ±0.000 011 80 S10 0.707 466 ±0.000 013 80
    S3 0.705 736 ±0.000 012 51 S11 0.706 104 ±0.000 012 58
    S4 0.705 514 ±0.000 011 47 S12 0.707 305 ±0.000 013 77
    S5 0.706 449 ±0.000 012 64 S13 0.706 520 ±0.000 012 65
    S6 0.706 661 ±0.000 011 68 S14 0.706 506 ±0.000 012 65
    S7 0.706 304 ±0.000 011 62 S15 0.706 526 ±0.000 012 65
    S8 0.707 131 ±0.000 011 75 S16 0.706 503 ±0.000 012 65
    Grimsey chimneysa 87Sr/86Sr =0.706 08–0.707 63 (average=0.705 70), (n=10)#
    TAG chimneysb 87Sr/86Sr =0.705 14–0.706 67 (average=0.705 70), SW%=36%–62% (45.7%), (n=3)
    Inner of TAG moundc 87Sr/86Sr =0.705 53–0.709 13 (average=0.707 18), SW%=40%–99.5% (69.1%), (n=35)
    ODP 504B holed 87Sr/86Sr =0.701 92–0.708 84 (average=0.705 61), (n=19)#
    Kuroko deposite 87Sr/86Sr =0.707 72–0.708 66 (average=0.708 23), SW%=64%–95% (79.8%), (n=12)
    *. The absence of samples S0 and S1-1 is for that they were contaminated during the collection of anhydrite. . The seawater and hydrothermal fluid with respective Sr concentrations of 85 and 150 μmol/kg, and 87Sr/86Sr compositions of 0.709 16 and 0.703 70 (Ravizza et al., 2001). #. the seawater proportion was not calculated for the lacking of the Sr concentration for end-member hydrothermal fluid in the area. Data for a from Kuhn et al., 2003. Data for b from Mills and Elderfried, 1995. Data for c from Humphris and Bach, 2005 and Mills et al., 1998. Data for d from Teagle et al., 1998c. Data for e from Ogawa et al., 2007.

    Table 1.  The Sr isotopic composition of anhydrites from L vent black smoker chimney East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N and related Sr isotopic composition data from different hydrothermal systems

    Assuming conservative mixing of Sr between seawater and hydrothermal fluid, the relative proportions of seawater and hydrothermal fluid can be calculated from mass balance equations. The calculated seawater proportions (SW%) were also listed in Table 1, too. The seawater proportions for anhydrites in this study with the range of 47% to 82% and with an average of 67.5%, which is higher than the range for anhydrites from the TAG chimney (36%–62%, with an average value of 45.7%), and similar to that of anhydrites from the inner of TAG mound (40%–99.5%, with an average value of 69.1%), and lower than that of anhydrites from Kuroko deposit (64%–95%, with an average value of 79.8%).

    REE contents of the studied anhydrites are presented in Table 2, together with REE data of seawater (Mitra et al., 1994) for comparison. The mean end-member REE contents of hydrothermal fluids from EPR 13oN (Douville et al., 1999) was chosen and also shown in Table 2. REE data on hydrothermal fluid from this area are not available. ∑REE contents in anhydrites of this study are in the range of 1.71 ppm–5.88 ppm, with an average of 3.43 ppm). These contents are about three orders of magnitude greater than those found in end-member black hydrothermal fluids and about six orders of magnitude greater than the REE concentrations in seawater (Bao et al., 2008; Douville et al., 1999; Klinkhammer et al., 1995, 1994, 1983). For comparative purpose, the content data have been normalized to the average REE concentrations of chondrites (Sun and McDonough, 1989) (Fig. 3). LaN/YbN is used to compare the slope of the chondrite-normalized REE patterns (where subscript N indicates normalized to the chondrite) and indicates the fractionation extent of light rare earth element (LREE) to heavy rare earth element (HREE). All of the samples show LREE(La to Eu) enrichment as demonstrated by high LaN/YbN values ranging from 7.2 to 16.5. In addition, all patterns of samples show remarkable positive Eu anomalies, with values of δEu (where δEu is defined as EuN/(SmN×GdN)0.5) in the range of 1.5 to 5.0. Weak negative correlation between δEu and total REEs and weak positive correlation between δEu and LaN/YbN were observed (Fig. 4), similar to those of the anhydrites from TAG mound (Humphris, 1998). Negative correlation between ∑REE and 87Sr/86Sr ratios (R2=0.61, n=16) was observed (Fig. 5).

    Sample La Ce Pr Nd Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu LaN/ YbN δEu ∑REE (ppm)
    (ppm)
    S1 0.303 0.576 0.106 0.347 0.076 0.136 0.091 0.015 0.076 0.015 0.045 0.009 0.015 0.008 14.3 5.0 1.82
    S2 0.470 0.916 0.074 0.438 0.157 0.108 0.145 0.018 0.157 0.024 0.072 0.011 0.036 0.008 9.3 2.2 2.63
    S3 0.842 1.669 0.132 0.750 0.241 0.120 0.241 0.028 0.256 0.045 0.105 0.014 0.060 0.011 10.0 1.5 4.51
    S4 1.152 2.265 0.187 0.816 0.318 0.252 0.305 0.031 0.291 0.053 0.119 0.013 0.066 0.012 12.5 2.5 5.88
    S5 0.645 1.200 0.123 0.515 0.194 0.258 0.168 0.022 0.181 0.065 0.090 0.004 0.065 0.004 7.2 4.4 3.53
    S6 0.607 1.319 0.109 0.620 0.178 0.119 0.193 0.024 0.178 0.030 0.074 0.010 0.044 0.004 9.8 2.0 3.51
    S7 0.688 1.442 0.188 0.821 0.195 0.143 0.195 0.036 0.182 0.039 0.078 0.009 0.052 0.004 9.5 2.2 4.07
    S8 0.681 1.489 0.210 1.000 0.213 0.149 0.255 0.045 0.234 0.043 0.085 0.011 0.043 0.006 11.5 2.0 4.46
    S9 0.292 0.646 0.068 0.284 0.083 0.083 0.083 0.013 0.083 0.015 0.042 0.006 0.019 0.004 11.2 3.1 1.72
    S10 0.311 0.622 0.069 0.300 0.067 0.089 0.089 0.014 0.089 0.016 0.022 0.004 0.020 0.002 11.2 3.5 1.71
    S11 0.633 1.288 0.171 0.829 0.192 0.169 0.181 0.032 0.192 0.034 0.079 0.008 0.045 0.005 10.0 2.8 3.86
    S12 0.312 0.667 0.089 0.362 0.085 0.128 0.099 0.018 0.085 0.014 0.043 0.003 0.014 0.001 15.8 4.2 1.92
    S13 0.882 1.851 0.222 1.037 0.261 0.224 0.236 0.047 0.248 0.050 0.112 0.012 0.062 0.007 10.2 2.8 5.25
    S14 0.716 1.433 0.157 0.679 0.209 0.119 0.209 0.030 0.179 0.030 0.090 0.012 0.060 0.006 8.6 1.7 3.93
    S15 0.351 0.718 0.061 0.359 0.107 0.122 0.122 0.015 0.107 0.015 0.046 0.005 0.015 0.003 16.5 3.3 2.05
    S16 0.691 1.327 0.139 0.750 0.236 0.218 0.200 0.034 0.236 0.055 0.091 0.018 0.055 0.018 9.1 3.1 4.07
    HF/pm 7 335 13 850 1 870 7 150 1 264.5 3 890 1 365 167.5 815 136.5 326.5 234 31 18.1 9.2
    SW/pm 29 5.5 4.4 21.4 4.1 1.1 6.3 0.92 6.4 1.7 5.5 5.4 0.88 3.1 0.7
    Note: subscript N indicates normalized to the chondrite; LREE- La to Eu, HREE- Gd to Lu; HF indicates end-member hydrothermal fluid (the average value of two EPR 13°N end-member hydrothermal fluid, data from (Douville et al., 1999)); SW indicates seawater, data from (Mitra et al., 1994); pm=p mol/kg.

    Table 2.  REE geochemistry of anhydrites from L vent chimney East Pacific Rise, 9oN–10oN

    Figure 3.  Chondrite-normalized REE patterns for anhydrites from the black smoker chimney in EPR 9°N–10°N. For comparative purpose, chondrite-normalized REE pattern for seawater and end-member hydrothermal fluid are also presented. The Tm data of seawater and end-member hydrothermal fluid is interpolated between Er and Yb, respectively. Chondrite data are from Sun and McDonough (1989). Seawater data are from Mitra et al. (1994).

    Figure 4.  Total REE concentration (a) and LaN/YbN (b) vs. the Eu anomalies for anhydrites from L vent chimney, East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N.

    Figure 5.  The relationship between total REEs and Sr isotopic compositions of anhydrites from L vent chimney, East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N.

  • Sr isotopic composition was suggested as a sensitive indicator for genesis of anhydrite (Humphris and Bach, 2005; Humphris, 1998; Teagle et al., 1998c; Shikazono et al., 1983; Kusakabe and Chiba, 1979; Farrell et al., 1978; Sato, 1973). The Sr isotopes within the range of end-member hydrothermal fluid in the area and seawater, indicating the anhydrites in L vent chimney are formed by the mixing of hydrothermal fluid and seawater, other than by simple heating of seawater.

    Generally, end-member hydrothermal fluid is considered as being with zero Mg content and has little or no SO42- (Ravizza et al., 2001; Von Damm, 2000), so the formation of anhydrite needs SO42- from seawater. This can be evidenced by the sulfur isotopic compositions of anhydrite. Sulfur isotopic composition of anhydrites from different hydrothermal systems, except for those having sulfur contribution from magmatic input (Kim et al., 2004), are near or equal to that of seawater value (Zhou et al., 2013; Chiba et al., 1998; Herzig et al., 1998; Bowers, 1989; Bluth and Ohmoto, 1988; Woodruff and Shanks Ⅲ, 1988; Styrt et al., 1981).

  • In previous studies, Sr isotopic composition of anhydrite was used in calculating proportion of end-member hydrothermal fluid and seawater (Humphris and Bach, 2005; Mills et al., 1998; Mills and Tivey, 1999; Teagle et al., 1998c). Previous studies show that hydrothermal fluids are variable, rather than constant (Ding et al., 2005; Von Damm, 2004; Von Damm et al. 1995). For example, Von Damm et al. (1997) observed the transition from vapor phase to brine phase in the F vent (Von Damm et al., 1997). Variation of hydrothermal fluid (especially the variation of Sr content of hydrothermal fluid) will have profound influence on the proportion calculating of seawater and hydrothermal fluid. Therefore it should be dealt with care when carrying out the calculation. For understanding the mixing condition on the transection of the L vent chimney, it is assumed that the Sr concentration of end-member hydrothermal fluids is constant during the mixing calculation. The constant Sr concentration of end-member hydrothermal fluid about 150 μmol/kg was chosen during the calculation because it is the only published data from the L vent. It is expected that the outer anhydrites should have a higher seawater proportion and the inner and/or the near fluid channel anhydrites should have a lower seawater proportion. However the results show there seems no regular relationship between the location and the seawater proportion. Possible explanations may include (1) these anhydrites were formed by hydrothermal fluid with variable Sr concentration other than constant Sr concentration; (2) the mixing was heterogeneous during the growth of an active chimney, especially for multi-channel chimney. We believed that it could be the co-result of the Sr concentration variation of hydrothermal fluid and the heterogeneous mixing process. Studies on individual anhydrite crystals will be required for improving the understanding of the mixing on the transection of the L vent chimney.

  • As shown above, the anhydrites are formed from the mixture of hydrothermal fluid and seawater, the REE content is controlled by the mixing extent of seawater and hydrothermal fluid. This is evidenced by an observed negative correlation between Sr isotopes and total REEs content. This indicates that the mixing extent between hydrothermal fluid and seawater is the main factor controlling the REE content in anhydrite (Fig. 5).

    Generally, the concentrations of REE in the seawater are one to four orders of magnitude lower than those in end-member black smoker hydrothermal fluid (Ravizza et al., 2001), the REE pattern of a mixed fluid is most influenced by the latter. The hydrothermal fluids sampled from the L vent are characterized by low pH, high temperature, low F- and low SO42- (Ravizza et al., 2001; Von Damm, 2000). The L vent fluid is different from the fluids, which are characterized by high temperature, high F- and low SO42-, sampled from magmatic input hydrothermal systems (Craddock et al., 2010; Bach et al., 2003). The L vent fluid is also different from the fluids, which are characterized by low temperature, high SO42- and variable F-, sampled from the low temperature hydrothermal systems (Bach et al., 2003). Previous studies show that different kinds of hydrothermal fluids mix with seawater will have different REE geochemistry for mixtures, and result in different REE geochemistry in anhydrites (Craddock et al., 2010; Humphris and Bach, 2005; Bach et al., 2003; Mills and Elderfield, 1995). The hydrothermal fluid with the low pH, high temperature, low F- and low SO42- mixed with seawater, the REEs in the mixture are generally complexed with anion, like Cl-, SO42-, F-, CO32- and so on (Humphris and Bach, 2005; Bach et al., 2003), and the anhydrites precipitated from the mixed fluid are characteristic of in the ordinary uniform REE pattern, with the LREE enrichment and positive Eu anomaly (Humphris and Bach, 2005; Mills and Elderfield, 1995). For the fluids with high temperature, high F- and low SO42-, the LREE and Eu are dominantly complexed with Cl- and HREE are dominantly complexed with F- (Craddock et al., 2010; Bach et al., 2003), and the anhydrites formed from the mixed fluid have a wide variable REE patterns, including variable enrichment in MREE and HREE and variable Eu anomalies. For the hydrothermal fluid with low temperature, high SO42- and variable F-, sulfate complexs, free REE3+ ions (including Eu) dominate the REE species (Bach et al., 2003) in the mixed fluid, and the anhydrites formed from such mixed fluid are characterized by flat REE pattern, slight or no Eu anomaly and slightly HREE enrichment (Bach et al., 2003). The anhydrites from the L vent chimney are characterized by uniform REE pattern, with LREE enrichment and positive Eu anomaly, and are similar to anhydrites from TAG (Humphris and Bach, 2005; Mills and Elderfield, 1995). It may be inferred that the REE geochemistry of the mixture of hydrothermal fluid is mainly controlled by chemistry of the end-member hydrothermal fluid.

    There exist different explanations on factors that influence the REE pattern of anhydrite precipitation from a mixture of hydrothermal fluid and seawater. Mills and Elderfield (1995) calculated the distribution of REE in anhydrite and suggested that REE partitioning into anhydrite was controlled by crystallography. But they could not explain the notably low partition of La, Ce and Eu in anhydrite. This can be also observed in the L vent anhydrites (Fig. 6). Both of TAG anhydrites and L vent anhydrites show that the other factors except crystallographic process may contribute to the distribution of REE in anhydrite.

    Figure 6.  Apparent distribution coefficients for L vent anhydrites plotted against the square of the difference between the ionic radii of the REE and Ca2+. Ionic radii are from Shannon (1976); REE are assumed to be eight-fold coordination, and all are assumed to be trivalent ions, except Eu2+; the calculation is the same as Mills and Elderfield (1995).

    Another explanation suggested that REE-anion complexing is the main factor that influences the partitioning behavior into anhydrite (Bao et al., 2008; Humphris and Bach, 2005; Bach et al., 2003; Douville et al., 1999). For the absence of REE data in end-member hydrothermal fluid from this area, we normalized the anhydrite REE data to the mean REE concentration in end-member hydrothermal fluid from EPR 13oN (Douville et al., 1999). The normalized REE patterns are uniform, but are characterized by distinct negative Eu anomaly (overall range=0.2–0.6) and slight enrichment of HREE (LaH/YbH=0.4–0.9, where subscript H indicates normalized to end-member hydrothermal fluid) (Fig. 7). These uniform patterns were also observed by Humphris (1998), and were explained as REE-anion complexing. Species calculation shows that LREE complexes are more stable than that of HREE complexes under a given temperature and pressure (Humphris and Bach, 2005), leading to the depletion of LREE and the enrichment of HREE when normalized to end-member hydrothermal fluids. For Eu, Humphris and Bach (2005) suggested that the discrimination against Eu during the precipitation of anhydrite is likely due to two factors: (1) the ionic radius of Eu2+ is sig- nificantly larger that of Ca2+ (125 pm compared with 112 pm for Ca2+); (2) the strong chloro-complexation. Species calculation mode shows that under the conditions for anhydrite precipitation with different mixing hypothesis, free Eu2+ ion is rare (Humphris and Bach, 2005). Therefore, the Eu-anion complexing may be the key factor influencing the Eu partition behavior in anhydrite. In a closed environment, with REE-anion complexing and precipitation of anhydrite, the REE content of the mixture in hydrothermal fluid and seawater will decrease, while the Eu anomaly and the fraction between LREE and HREE will increase (Fig. 4). Open environment for precipitation of anhydrites may be the reason for the weak negative correlation between δEu and total REEs and the weak positive relationship between δEu and LaN/YbN. Therefore we suggest that REE-anion complex, rather than crystallography, is the main factor influencing the partitioning behavior of REE into anhydrite of L vent chimney.

    Figure 7.  End-member black smoker fluids-normalized REE patterns for anhydrites from L vent chimney, East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N, the Tm data of end-member hydrothermal fluid is interpolated between Er and Yb.

  • High resolution Sr isotopic composition and REE analyses were carried out along the transaction of L vent chimney collected from East Pacific Rise 9°N–10°N. Sr isotopes show these anhydrites are the product of the mixing between hydrothermal fluid and seawater. The negative correlation between Sr isotopes and total REEs contents indicates that the mixing extent of hydrothermal fluid and seawater is the key factor that influences the REE content in anhydrite. Using a constant Sr concentration of hydrothermal fluid, the calculation on relative proportion of seawater and hydrothermal show that there seems no regular relationship between the location and the seawater proportion and indicates heterogeneous mixing on the transection of the L vent chimney.

    REE data show uniform chondrite-normalized REE patterns with enrichment of LREE and positive Eu anomalies, which is similar to that of most of anhydrites from TAG hydrothermal mound. When normalized to the REE of end-member hydrothermal fluid, these data show similar REE pattern while with negative Eu anomalies and enrichment of HREE. Together with the previous studies on REEs of hydrothermal fluid from different hydrothermal systems and hydrothermal fluids data from EPR 9°N–10°N, it is suggested that REE-anion complexing, rather than crystallography, is the main factor that controls the REE partition behavior during the precipitation of anhydrite from the mixture of hydrothermal fluid and seawater.

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