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About the Database

Purpose of the database
Database contents
An abbreviated history of the database
What’s new in Version 2.0
Version Updates
Download Version 2.0 documentation

Purpose of the database
The purpose of the InterRidge Global Database of Active Submarine Hydrothermal Vent Fields, hereafter referred to as the “InterRidge Vents Database,” is to provide a comprehensive list of active and inferred active (unconfirmed) submarine hydrothermal vent fields for use in academic research and education. As stated by the InterRidge Working Group (WG) on Global Distribution of Hydrothermal Activity (InterRidge News 9.1, April 2000): “The idea of this data-base is that it should become the international standard for all known sites of submarine hydrothermal activity which can be updated simply by submitting an electronic message to the InterRidge Office.”

Database contents
Each Vent Field contains the following (“columns” in the exported CSV file):
Name of vent field Feature ID in MGDS
The Name ID uniquely identifies a vent field. This Name ID is associated with controlled vocabularies for Feature_ID VentField in MGDS ( We distinguish vent field (assemblage of vent sites) from vent site (e.g., Tica vent at EPR, 9 50'N vent field).
Name alias(es) for vent field
Other Names used in the literature for the same vent field.
Name(s) of individual vent sites
Names of individual vent sites contained within the vent field. Aliases for vent site names are given in parentheses with an equals sign, such as “Solwara 4e (= Fenway).” These are associated with controlled vocabularies for Feature_ID Vent in MGDS.
Hydrothermal activity is categorized as: confirmed active, inferred active, or inactive. We consider the activity confirmed when indicated by visual observations at the sea floor (i.e., ground-truthing) that may or may not also include temperature measurements.
Maximum Temperature
Maximum Temperature Category

Maximum temperature (deg. C) is provided for active vent fields; the “cell” is blank if inferred active and “NotApplicable” if inactive. For those active vent fields in which a maximum temperature is NotProvided, a category is assigned as High if chimneys and/or black smokers were observed or Low if only diffuse venting was observed. Again, the “cell” is blank if inferred active and “NotApplicable” if inactive.

Positions are provided in decimal degrees to four decimal places. Negative values for latitude are degrees S, and negative values for longitude are degrees W.
The 8 ocean categories conform with the InterRidge Cruise Database: Arctic, Indian, Mediterranean, N. Atlantic, N. Pacific, S. Atlantic, S. Pacific, Southern.
Region generally indicates the regional setting of the vent field along the world plate boundaries. Exceptions include vent fields at intra-plate volcanoes and coastal faults. The Region tends to form part of the hierarchical vocabulary for each vent field Name Feature_ID VentField in MGDS.
National Jurisdiction
National Jurisdiction was determined by querying the VLIZ Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase, ver. 5, Oct. 2009, using the latitude and longitude for each vent field.
Maximum or Single Reported Depth Minimum Depth
Depth (m below sea level) is given for hydrothermal activity and/or deposits. Either a range (deepest-shallowest) or single reported depth is provided.
Tectonic Setting Category
Each vent field was assigned to 1 of 5 tectonic setting categories: arc volcano, back-arc spreading center, intra-plate volcano, mid-ocean ridge, or other.
Full Spreading Rate
For each vent field categorized as mid-ocean ridge or back-arc spreading center, the full spreading rate velocity (mm/a) was derived from Bird (2003), accessed via GeoMapApp.
Host Rock
Host rock is from a spreadsheet provided by S. Petersen in 2009, otherwise categorized as basalt-hosted, sediment-hosted, ultramafic-hosted, or NotProvided. This “column” was not vetted for Versions 2.0 or 2.1.
Deposit Type
Deposit type is listed from Version 1 or from a spreadsheet provided by M. Hannington in 2009, otherwise NotProvided. Abbreviations include: polymetallic massive sulfide deposits (PMS), low-temperature hydrothermal vents and associated mineral deposits (LTH), near-field metalliferous sediments (NFS), distal metalliferous sediments (DIS), and vein and breccia deposits (VSD). This “column” was not vetted for Versions 2.0 or 2.1.
Notes on Vent Field description
Notes describing the vent field are generally quoted directly from the literature. However, some of the site descriptions remain from Version 1 and may be similar to the “Description” in the ISA Database. This “column” in the database also contains notes relevant to other “columns,” for example, providing more information on the regional or tectonic setting.
Notes relevant to biology
Notes on biology are generally quoted directly from the literature. However, some of these notes remain from Version 1.
Year and how discovered
For the year and means by which discovered, visual confirmation at the sea floor is listed first, unless otherwise noted. Other information related to the discovery is listed in chronological order.
References for discovery
Other citations

References in brackets “[ ]” were not consulted in full by the InterRidge Coordinator in 2009 (Beaulieu).

An abbreviated history of the database
The original motivation for the database came from the WG on Global Distribution of Hydrothermal Activity, active from 1997-2002. Version 1 of the database was largely derived from M. Hannington’s compilation of the worldwide distribution of seafloor polymetallic sulfide deposits produced for the Geological Survey of Canada in 1994 with a supplement for shallow hydrothermal systems in 1999. Version 1 was posted online by the InterRidge Japan office (2000-2003) and transferred to the Germany office (2004-2006). In parallel, during the decade 2000-2009, M. Hannington updated and enhanced the database for seafloor hydrothermal deposits, published in 2002 for the Central Data Repository of the International Seabed Authority (hereafter referred to as the “ISA Database”). The ISA Database was revised in 2004 and in 2009. Also in parallel, E. Baker maintained a list of locations at which hydrothermal plumes were detected in systematic, water-column surveys for hydrothermal activity, and S. Petersen maintained another list that included vent field maximum temperature and host rock.

For the revision to Version 2.0, S. Beaulieu merged 4 spreadsheets of global vent fields: 1) the Version 1 spreadsheet (212 listings), 2) a spreadsheet from E. Baker and available at NOAA Vents Program website (version 19 Aug. 2009), 3) a spreadsheet from M. Hannington (version 11 Aug. 2009, in preparation for revision of ISA Database), and 4) a spreadsheet from S. Petersen (version 30 Sep. 2009), in particular for vent field maximum temperature and host rock. After the merger of the 4 spreadsheets (which resulted in 462 listings), an additional 92 vent fields were added from the primary literature and from cruise reports and press releases for the most recent discoveries through the end of 2009.

What’s new in Version 2.0
Version 2.0 has more than double the number of vent field listings (554 in the 5 March 2010 release) vs. Version 1 (212). Version 2.0 was intended to be comprehensive for active and inferred active (unconfirmed) submarine hydrothermal vent fields discovered through the end of 2009 (but see additions to Ver. 2.1 below). The full database is uploaded into a Drupal 6 Content Management System. Taxonomy terms with controlled vocabulary were introduced for Activity, Tectonic Setting, Region, Ocean, National Jurisdiction, and Maximum Temperature Category. Each unique Vent Field Name ID is matched to a hierarchical vocabulary Feature ID for the same vent field in the in the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS). The full list of vent fields can be exported as a comma-separated-value (CSV) file. (Note: During the update to Ver. 2.1, we realized that the CSV output for Ver. 2.0 was only including the first name alias and the first vent site listed for each vent field.)

Version 2.0 was used in the following publication:

Hannington, M., J. Jamieson, T. Monecke, S. Petersen, and S. Beaulieu (2011) The abundance of seafloor massive sulfide deposits. Geology 39: 1155-1158, doi:10.1130/G32468.1.

Version Updates

Version 2.0 was migrated from WHOI to NOCS server in Aug. 2010. In March 2011 we discovered that the initial upload of the database had not uploaded minimum depth 0. We updated this for the following vent fields (and some of the vent fields edited in Version 2.1, listed below): Deception Island; Kos; Kraternaya Bight; Luise Harbor; Matupi Harbor; Methana; Montserrat Volcano; Punta Santa Barbara; Santorini. We revised the Name IDs for Bataan, Clark volcano, Rumble V volcano, Chamorro volcano, Fukujin volcano, Nikko volcano, NW Eifuku, and TOTO Caldera in addition to edits made for several Kermadec arc and Mariana arc volcanoes listed in Ver. 2.1 below.

Version 2.1
Upload of Version 2.1 was completed on 8 November 2011. Version 2.1 is comprehensive through the end of 2009 for active submarine hydrothermal vent fields. 84 of the vent fields in Version 2.0 were edited with additional information. 35 vent fields were added to the database (14 of these were discovered in 2010 or 2011). One vent field was deleted from the database since it turned out to be equivalent to an existing listing. Thus, the total number of listings in Version 2.1 is 588 (34 more than Version 2.0). 532 of these listings are confirmed or inferred active. 56 of these listings are inactive (please note: the database is not comprehensive for inactive vent fields).

Changes to taxonomy: Activity changed from “Active” to “Active, confirmed” and from “Unconfirmed” to “Active, inferred”.

Additions to taxonomy: Added 2 regions: Andaman Basin; Costa Rica fore arc.

Removal from taxonomy: Removed 1 region: Aleutian Arc, eastern.

Edited 84 vent fields (13 N Ridge Site; 94SO2; Ashadze 4; Bahia Concepcion; Banua Wuhu; Bayonnaise Knoll; Brothers volcano; Brown Bear; Capo Miseno; Capo Palinuro; central Manus Basin; CLSC, A3; Dodo Field; East Diamante; EPR, 9 50'N; EPR, 10 08’N; EPR, 10 44.6’N; EPR, 11 24’N; EPR, 26.5S; Esmeralda Bank; ESR, E9; “ET”; Europa; FRSC, South Central; Gemini-Oscostar Volcanic Complex; Giggenbach; Grover; Healy; Hot Beach; Kagamil Island; Kana Keoki; Kasuga 2; Komba-ridge; Kueishan Island; Kueishan Island, offshore; Logatchev-3; Loki's Castle; Marsili; Mata Tolu; Maug Caldera; Methana; Milos; Minami-Hiyoshi; Moytirra; Naung; Nagahama Bay; NELCO; Nifonea Ridge; Nishinoshima; Nisiros; Palinuro; Piccard; Pika; Raven; Rumble III; Santorini; Semyenov; Snail; Solitaire Field; Solwara 11; Solwara 13; Solwara 16; Solwara 17; Solwara 18; Solwara 19; Soria Moria; Stanton Seamount; Starfish Seamount; Steinaholl; Sulawesi Island; Sumisu Caldera; SuSu Knolls; Tahi Moana 2; Tahi Moana 7; Temakons; Teotihuacan; TELVE; Troll Wall; Vienna Woods, Hydrothermal Field 4; Vulcano; West Mata; White Church; White Point; Yonaguni Knoll IV).

Added 35 vent fields (Adventure Caldera; Akuseki-jima; Baily's Beads; Bubbylon; Central Andaman Trough, rift valley; Central Andaman Trough, seamount crater; Central Cleft, off-axis; Chile Triple Junction; Chile Triple Junction, 10 km north; CIR, northern; Consag Basin; EPR, 10 02'N; Ischia Island; Jaco Scarp; Jade Emperor Mountain; Kawio Barat; Kemp Caldera; Kodakara-jima; Krakatau; Kulo Lasi; Mata Fa; Mata Fitu; Mata Nima; Mata Ono; Mata Taha; Mata Ua; near Jade Emperor Mountain, on-axis; Pulau Weh; Rainbow Bay; St. Petersburg; Secca del Capo; Sisifo; Tai Chi; Wagner Basin; Walsh).

Removed 1 vent field from Ver. 2.0: SPOT-5 was incorporated into Yonaguni Knoll IV.

Version 2.1 is being used in the following:

Beaulieu, S.E., E.T. Baker, and C.R. German (2012, manuscript in prep.) On the global distribution of hydrothermal vent fields: one decade later. Abstract to be presented at 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, USA, February 2012.

Version 2.2
"Version 2.2 was served at the NOCS (UK) through January 2013 then transferred to and hosted at the InterRidge China office. Ver. 2.2 consisted of edits from 25 January - 15 October 2012. This site will remain live through the end of 2013 at, to allow for links from the 2011 kml release."
New vent fields added (Von Damm; Stockwork; SEIR 99; Galapagos 4A; AAR KR1; AAR KR2; MAR, 4 02'S; Carlsberg Ridge, 63 40'E; Carlsberg Ridge, 63 50'E).
Vent fields in Version 2.1 were edited with additional information: Beebe; Kos; Milos; Whale Island; Sasquatch; Salty Dawg; High Rise; Main Endeavour Field; Mothra; Enarete; Raven; Nereus Deep.
Added journal refs/AGU abstracts to Axial ASHES; Mothra; Milos; Guaymas (Southern Trough Ridge); Iheya North; Solitaire; Dodo; Sasquatch; Salty Dawg; High Rise; Main Endeavour Field

The InterRidge Vents Database is supported by the InterRidge program for international cooperation in ridge-crest studies ( For the revision to Version 2.0, we greatly appreciate access to global lists of vent fields from E. Baker, M. Hannington, and S. Petersen. V. Ferrini helped match vocabulary to the MGDS Feature IDs. A. Maffei and J. Dusenberry aided the upload into Drupal 6. D. Perry and M. Suominen aided the transfer to NOCS. For the revision to Version 2.1, we also thank E. Baker, P. Dando, and C. De Ronde.

Download Version 2.0 documentation

For more information, please consult the database documentation PDF or contact the InterRidge Coordinator.