Hydrothermal Vent Turbulence

Long time series are required to estimate heat, chemical, and biological fluxes from Earth’s crust upward into the ocean via hydrothermal vents. The Cabled Observatory Vent Imaging Sonar (COVIS) installed at NEPTUNE’s Main Endeavour Field study site on the Juan de Fuca Ridge continuously measures acoustic backscatter of black smoker plumes in three dimensions and diffuse vent flow from the seafloor.

At this location, the ratio of focused flow from black smokers compared with diffuse flow is about 20 times larger than previous estimates, underlining the important contribution of black smokers to heat and materials fluxes into the ocean at seafloor- spreading centres.

The COVIS project is a collaborative initiative of Rutgers University and the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation. 

To learn more, contact staff scientist Steve Mihály.