Numerical modeling of induced diffuse flow in seafloor hydrothermal systems
Gosnell, Sawyer Ross
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Examining the processes that control diffuse flow in seafloor hydrothermal systems can provide insight into what is happening below the seafloor at mid-ocean ridges. The diffuse flow could be either entrained seafloor fluids mixed with hot, upwelling fluids, or diffuse flow could be driven by sidewall heating across some low permeability barrier. This barrier would separate the diffuse flow fluids from the high temperature fluids, effectively preventing mixing. Three parameters were manipulated through a numerical model based on the single-pass model, and the fluid and heat flow results analyzed and compared to observed hydrothermal systems. These three parameters are depth of the extrusive layer at the top of the system, the permeability of the extrusive layer, and the existence of a low permeability barrier separating the high-temperature output from the induced diffuse flow.