You are here

Von Damm

Name Alias(es): 
Europa (but see description note below)
National Jurisdiction: 
Depth (m)
Maximum or Single Reported Depth: 
Tectonic setting: 
Notes on Vent Field Description: 
Located off-axis on the upper slopes of an Oceanic Core Complex. "The vent field consists of a conical sulphide mound, 100 m in diameter and 30 m high, venting predominantly clear fluids from orifices at its peak… The presence of anhydrite indicates vent fluid temperatures in excess of 140 deg C" (Connelly et al., 2012). A water column methane anomaly was detected in this area in November 2009 and its putative seafloor source called "Europa" by German et al. (2010), who proposed it to be a low-temperature alkaline system associated with serpentinization of ultramafic rocks (similar to Lost City). However the Von Damm Vent Field, located on the seafloor and sampled in April 2010 (Connelly et al., 2010 & 2012), is a hot, acidic and sulfidic system. Whether there is a separate low-temperature serpentinization-driven system also in the area remains unknown, and it is therefore unclear whether "Europa" may be correctly considered an alias of "Von Damm".
Notes Relevant to Biology: 
Aggregations of Rimicaris hybisae around the actively venting orifices of the edifice peak (more than 2,000 individuals m-2), and at least two other morphotypes of shrimp present, along with zoarcid fish, turrid gastropods and lysianassoid amphipods (Connelly et al., 2012). "~ 400 m south of the VDVF, we observed an aggregation of mussel shells (Fig. 5c) and empty tubes superficially resembling those of siboglinid polychaetes" (Connelly et al., 2012); subsequent exploration by RV Okeanos Explorer EX1104 in August 2011 confirmed live siboglinid polychaetes in this area.
Year and How Discovered (if active, visual confirmation is listed first): 
April 2010 (Autosub6000 AUV and HyBIS TVG; November 2009 (plume only)
Discovery References (text): 
Connelly, D.P. et al. (2012) Hydrothermal vent fields and chemosynthetic biota on the world's deepest seafloor spreading centre. Nature Communications 3, No. 620, doi: 10.1038/ncomms1636
German, C. et al. (2010) Diverse styles of submarine venting on the ultra-slow spreading Mid-Cayman Rise. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 107 No. 32 August 2010. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1009205107
Other References (text): 
Connelly, D.P. et al. (2010). New hydrothermal vents located on the Mid-Cayman Spreading Centre: Cruise RRS James Cook 44, March-April 2010. InterRidge News, 19, 23-25.