Hydrothermal Convection at Ridge Axes

  • Norman H. Sleep
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 12)


Our knowledge of hydrothermal circulation at the ridge axis is based largely on sampling of the hydrothermal fluid, indirect geophysical measurements of the oceanic crust, and studies of rocks which are believed to have undergone hydrothermal alteration at the ridge axis. Basic questions still remain to be answered: how does the hydrothermal seawater initially enter deep levels of the oceanic crust; how effective is hydrothermal circulation at cooling the crust; what is the geometry of hydrothermal circulation; what is the relationship between the hydrothermal circulation and the magma chamber; how does the oceanic crust react with the seawater; and how can the hydrothermal fluid which altered a rock sample be identified. In this presentation, the relationships between these questions are discussed. In this volume, Lister (1983a) is concerned with mainly the first three questions and Taylor (1983) with the last three. Lister’s (1983a) approach is mainly theoretical, while Taylor (1983) has extensively studied the chemistry of rocks affected by hydrothermal fluids. Therefore, I discuss most extensively the topics not treated in those papers. That is chemical approaches to the questions addressed by Lister (1983a) and physical approaches to the questions discussed by Taylor (1983).


Nusselt Number Rayleigh Number Oceanic Crust Magma Chamber Crack Front 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman H. Sleep
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of GeophysicsStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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