Investigating Fine‐Scale Permeability Structure and Its Control on Hydrothermal Activity Along a Fast‐Spreading Ridge (the East Pacific Rise, 9°43′–53′N) Using Seismic Velocity, Poroelastic Response, and Numerical Modeling
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionGeophysical Research Letters. 2019, 46 (21), 11799-11810 https://doi.org/10.1029/2019gl084040
Along with the intracrustal heat source, crustal permeability is considered as the controlling factor for hydrothermal circulation within zero‐age oceanic crust. To obtain fine‐scale, 2‐D models of upper crustal permeability along the East Pacific Rise 9°50′N, known for prolific hydrothermal activity, we use recently derived high‐resolution seismic velocity and examine a number of the existing velocity‐permeability relationships. To constrain our preferred permeability model, we compare thus derived permeability models with collocated permeability estimates from poroelastic response to tidal loading at L‐vent. Furthermore, using the preferred permeability result, we model hydrothermal convection in 2‐D and find that the distributions of recharge and discharge zones are in good agreement with seafloor observations, including locations of the vent fields. Our results suggest that seismic velocities can be used as a tool for deriving spatial variation of permeability, which must be considered in modeling of hydrothermal flow.