Chemical Characteristics for Hydrothermal Alteration of Surface Sediments from Submarine Volcanoes of the Tonga Arc

통가열도 해저화산 표층 퇴적물 내 열수변질의 화학적 특성

  • Received : 2013.10.07
  • Accepted : 2013.12.24
  • Published : 2013.12.31


We analyzed 29 surface sediment samples in five submarine volcanoes (TA12, TA19, TA22, TA25, and TA26) located in the southern part of the Tonga arc for trace elements and rare earth elements to investigate characteristics of the hydrothermal alteration of surface sediments. Based on analytical results of trace element and rare earth element (REE), surface sediments of TA12, TA19, and TA22 submarine volcanoes, which are located in the northern part of the study area, were very little or not influenced by hydrothermal fluids. In contrast, some stations of TA25 and TA26 submarine volcanoes were strongly affected by hydrothermal fluids. However, these two submarine volcanoes showed different features in element concentration in the sediments. Some stations of TA25 submarine volcano showed enrichment of Ni, Cu, Sn, Zn, Pb, Cr, Cd, Sb, W, Ba, Ta, Rb, Sr, and As, however, those of TA26 submarine volcano showed enrichment of Sn, Zn, Pb, Cd, Sb, Ba, Rb, and Sr. Stations which enriched trace elements were observed, enriched REEs were also observed. Average upper continental crust (UCC)-normalized REE patterns of the surface sediments generally showed low light REE (LREE) abundances and increased heavy REE (HREE) abundances. Eu enrichment was identified at several stations of TA25 and TA26 submarine volcanoes. In addition, enrichment of Ce was found at some stations of TA26 submarine volcano and these enrichment patterns were similar with hydrothermal fluid of near stations. Furthermore, TA25 and TA26 submarine volcanoes showed different enrichment characteristics of trace elements and REE. Trace elements were concentrated at TA25 submarine volcano. TA26 submarine volcano, on the other hand, observed highly enrichment of REE especially, Eu and Ce. As a result of the investigation, the characteristics and concentrations of REEs and trace elements in the surface sediments of each submarine volcano can be applied to identify hydrothermal alteration of sediments during exploration for hydrothermal deposits.


Lau Basin;seafloor hydrothermal deposit;hydrothermal alteration;rare earth elements;trace elements


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