Hydrothermal Systems Across Time and Space: Advances and Perspectives

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Mineral Deposits".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2022) | Viewed by 15193

Special Issue Editors

1. Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Palermo Section, Palermo, Italy
2. Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli, Napoli, Italy
Interests: igneous mineralogy and geochemistry; magmatic-hydrothermal systems; hydrothermal Fe-Si oxyhydroxide deposits; analogues of hydrothermal systems on Mars
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Via dei Mille 44, Milazzo, Italy
Interests: submarine hydrothermal systems; fluids geochemistry; submarine deposits; acoustics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Trieste, Italy
Interests: benthic communities; hydrothermal systems; biodiversity
Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche e Geologiche, Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
Interests: biostratigraphy; biosedimentology; conodonts; Ordovician; Silurian

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since the origins of life, marine hydrothermal environments have represented one of the most fascinating ecosystems on Earth. In modern seas, hydrothermal systems favour highly productive biological communities over a wide range of physical and chemical environments, providing energy sources for biological communities in the deep sea. Generated fluids sustain distinct and diverse marine ecosystems, affecting the ocean chemistry and controlling the cycle of chemical elements. The hydrothermal process is also essential for mineral deposition and the selective enrichment of specific elements on the seafloor (possible analogues to on-land ore deposits). Hydrothermal systems are ubiquitous, ruling the evolution of life on Earth. Deciphering the hydrothermal signature within sediments across geological records allows us to reconstruct the history and the environmental conditions of past activities thanks to the unique mineralogical and geochemical imprinting and to the presence of possible biological traces. In addition, deep-sea hydrothermal settings have received attention as promising analogues of early terrestrial, as well as extraterrestrial, ecosystems. Hydrothermal systems thus unite biology and geology to breathe new life into this fascinating field of research.

This Special Issue seeks new studies on hydrothermal systems in order to bring together significant advances on the topic by an integrated mineralogical, geochemical and biological approach so as to obtain diverse perspectives on the evolution of life on Earth and on other planets in the Solar System. Our goal is to collect new information from geosciences and biosciences, gaining a better insight into the nature of interactions between abiotic and biotic components and their relationship with the mineralogy and geochemistry of the solid deposits and the discharged fluids of the hydrothermal systems.

We believe that this topic is profoundly important due to the fact that researchers in various different fields have data, mostly unpublished as it was deemed of minor importance, which, if interpreted differently, may prove significant in furthering the scientific community’s understanding of the evolution of hydrothermal systems.

We look forward to reviewing your contributions.

Keywords

  • mineral deposits
  • geochemical processes
  • magmatic–hydrothermal systems
  • fluid geochemistry
  • shallow-water and deep-sea hydrothermal environments
  • Seafloor Massive Sulphides
  • dynamics of living and fossil communities
  • hydrothermal fossil deposits
  • biogeochemical processes and biomineralization
  • polymetallic nodules
  • iron formations
  • extraterrestrial implications

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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24 pages, 5410 KiB  
Article
CO2-Degassing Carbonate Conduits in Early Pleistocene Marine Clayey Deposits in Southwestern Umbria (Central Italy)
Minerals 2022, 12(7), 819; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12070819 - 27 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1690
Abstract
Early Pleistocene marine deposits in southwestern Umbria (Orvieto–Allerona area, Italy) recently revealed the presence of more than forty carbonate conduits distributed over 2 km along the Paglia riverbed. In order to investigate their origins, analyses of their mineralogy, δ18O and δ [...] Read more.
Early Pleistocene marine deposits in southwestern Umbria (Orvieto–Allerona area, Italy) recently revealed the presence of more than forty carbonate conduits distributed over 2 km along the Paglia riverbed. In order to investigate their origins, analyses of their mineralogy, δ18O and δ13C stable isotopes, and organic geochemistry were conducted. All the carbonate conduits are made of euhedral microcrystals of dolomite with subordinate quartz, plagioclases, and micas. The stable carbon and oxygen isotope values of the bulk concretionary carbonates range from −0.57 to +4.79‰ (δ13C) and from +1.58 to +4.07‰ (δ18O), respectively. The lack of organic geochemical biomarkers of anaerobic methane oxidation (AOM) and the very low values of extractable organic matter suggest a non-biological origin for the dolomite precipitation. The latter is probably related to the rise of volcanic carbon dioxide due to the incipient Vulsini magmatism recorded in Early Pleistocene marine deposits all around the study site. The spatial distribution of the structures indicates that the upward migration of the CO2 was controlled by the fault system, while the vertical development of the conduits suggests that carbon dioxide degassing occurred, with multiple events. Carbon dioxide was probably stored in pockets within the clayey sediments until the pressure exceeded the eruptive threshold. These structures represent the first documentation of a volcanic carbon dioxide marine seepage event in the Umbria region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrothermal Systems Across Time and Space: Advances and Perspectives)
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26 pages, 5613 KiB  
Article
Some Biogeochemical Characteristics of the Trace Element Bioaccumulation in the Benthic Fauna of the Piip Volcano (The Southwestern Bering Sea)
Minerals 2021, 11(11), 1233; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11111233 - 06 Nov 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1611
Abstract
The Piip Volcano is a submarine volcanic edifice occupying the central part of the Volcanologists Massif in the southwestern Bering Sea, with two tops, southern and northern. The minimum depth of the northern top is located at 368 m, and of the southern [...] Read more.
The Piip Volcano is a submarine volcanic edifice occupying the central part of the Volcanologists Massif in the southwestern Bering Sea, with two tops, southern and northern. The minimum depth of the northern top is located at 368 m, and of the southern at 464 m. Active hydrothermal venting occurring at both summits of the volcano supports diverse biological communities, including animals specific for chemosynthetic habitats. In benthic organisms inhabiting the northern and southern tops of the Piip Volcano, for the first time, we examined distribution patterns of the following trace elements: titanium, vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron, nickel, copper, zinc, arsenic, selenium, zirconium, molybdenum, silver, cadmium, antimony, barium, tungsten, lead, bismuth, and uranium. The element contents were quantified by the ICP-MS. Total carbon (TC) and total inorganic carbon (TIC) were determined using a Shimadzu TOC-L-CPN and mineral composition of sediment was determined using the XRD. In the water of the biotope from the northern top, concentrations of Mn, Zn, Ag, Cd, Sb, W, Pb were 2–6 times, and Ba was 50 times higher than those from the southern top. This was attributed to the lower temperature of fluids emanating at the southern top. An abundant population of Calyptogena pacifica (Bivalvia: Vesicomyidae: Pliocardiinae) was found only at the southern top. The main target of most trace elements, such as Fe, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Zn, As, Mo, Ag, Cd, W, Pb, Bi, and U were the soft parts of Calyptogena pacifica (with high TOC content, on average 53.1% in gills and 49.6% in the rest of the body). Gills were characterized by particular high contents (>100 µg g−1 dry w.) of Zn, Cd, Fe, Ni, Cu, and Pb, which can form sulphides or be associated with them. Shells of C. pacifica, as well as Brachiopoda, were depleted in these elements, as well as tissues of the carnivores Paguridae (Crustacea) and Actiniaria (Anthozoa). In suspension feeders from both tops, the lower contents of most elements were detected. Estimation of Biological Concentration Factor (BCF) for most elements varied from 102 to 104, reaching n105 for Ni, Zn, Ag, Cd, and Pb. A significant difference in BCF values between Fe and Mn was revealed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrothermal Systems Across Time and Space: Advances and Perspectives)
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18 pages, 5450 KiB  
Article
Rolling Ironstones from Earth and Mars: Terrestrial Hydrothermal Ooids as a Potential Analogue of Martian Spherules
Minerals 2021, 11(5), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11050460 - 27 Apr 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2788
Abstract
High-resolution images of Mars from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) rovers revealed mm-size loose haematite spherulitic deposits (nicknamed “blueberries”) similar to terrestrial iron-ooids, for which both abiotic and biotic genetic hypotheses have been proposed. Understanding the formation mechanism of these haematite spherules [...] Read more.
High-resolution images of Mars from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) rovers revealed mm-size loose haematite spherulitic deposits (nicknamed “blueberries”) similar to terrestrial iron-ooids, for which both abiotic and biotic genetic hypotheses have been proposed. Understanding the formation mechanism of these haematite spherules can thus improve our knowledge on the possible geologic evolution and links to life development on Mars. Here, we show that shape, size, fabric and mineralogical composition of the Martian spherules share similarities with corresponding iron spherules currently forming on the Earth over an active submarine hydrothermal system located off Panarea Island (Aeolian Islands, Mediterranean Sea). Hydrothermal fluids associated with volcanic activity enable these terrestrial spheroidal grains to form and grow. The recent exceptional discovery of a still working iron-ooid source on the Earth provides indications that past hydrothermal activity on the Red Planet is a possible scenario to be considered as the cause of formation of these enigmatic iron grains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrothermal Systems Across Time and Space: Advances and Perspectives)
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Review

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38 pages, 1844 KiB  
Review
Ecological and Biotechnological Relevance of Mediterranean Hydrothermal Vent Systems
Minerals 2022, 12(2), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12020251 - 16 Feb 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 7781
Abstract
Marine hydrothermal systems are a special kind of extreme environments associated with submarine volcanic activity and characterized by harsh chemo-physical conditions, in terms of hot temperature, high concentrations of CO2 and H2S, and low pH. Such conditions strongly impact the [...] Read more.
Marine hydrothermal systems are a special kind of extreme environments associated with submarine volcanic activity and characterized by harsh chemo-physical conditions, in terms of hot temperature, high concentrations of CO2 and H2S, and low pH. Such conditions strongly impact the living organisms, which have to develop adaptation strategies to survive. Hydrothermal systems have attracted the interest of researchers due to their enormous ecological and biotechnological relevance. From ecological perspective, these acidified habitats are useful natural laboratories to predict the effects of global environmental changes, such as ocean acidification at ecosystem level, through the observation of the marine organism responses to environmental extremes. In addition, hydrothermal vents are known as optimal sources for isolation of thermophilic and hyperthermophilic microbes, with biotechnological potential. This double aspect is the focus of this review, which aims at providing a picture of the ecological features of the main Mediterranean hydrothermal vents. The physiological responses, abundance, and distribution of biotic components are elucidated, by focusing on the necto-benthic fauna and prokaryotic communities recognized to possess pivotal role in the marine ecosystem dynamics and as indicator species. The scientific interest in hydrothermal vents will be also reviewed by pointing out their relevance as source of bioactive molecules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrothermal Systems Across Time and Space: Advances and Perspectives)
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