Notes on Vent Field Description:
currently the world's deepest known hydrothermal vent field; Connelly et al., (2012): "The BVF consists of a sulphide mound 80 m in diameter and 50 m high, surmounted with several actively venting sulphide chimneys."; water column plume signal detected in November 2009 and its putative seafloor source called "Piccard" in German et al. (2010); however, as the convention is for naming vent fields after visual confirmation, the vent field was named "Beebe" when it was located on the seafloor and sampled in April 2010 (Connelly et al., 2010 and 2012); Kinsey and German (2013): "The highest temperature venting observed within the entire PHF occurs at the Beebe Vents, a series of 5 tall, slender chimneys (each 2-3 m tall) emitting fluids at temperatures as high as 398 C. These vents are located atop a 40 m diameter mound situated at 18°32.798′N, 81°43.092′W, ∼40 m W of the previously reported location and at a water depth of 4957 m.", "The second set of high temperature venting... located ∼70 m SW of their previously reported location. Here, a dense thicket of ten or more chimneys, dominated by beehive diffuse structures that range up to 7 m tall with diameters on the order of 0.2-0.5 m wide is situated at a depth of 4962 m and centered at 18°32.767′N, 81°43.091′W. This mound, measuring 40 m in diameter and 18 m in height, represents a distinct focus of active high-temperature fluid flow and mineral deposition which we have named Beebe Woods. Maximum fluid temperatures... 354 C", "The third mound... largest sulfide mound... diameter of 90 m and a height of 21 m does not host any active high-temperature venting, the presence of multiple extinct chimneys provides clear evidence for past high-temperature fluid flow. ... we have named this mound Beebe Sea. Maximum exit temperatures up to 111 C"; 2009 cruise blog, accessed 24 April 2015, http://www.oases-expedition.blogspot.com/; 2010 cruise blog, accessed 24 April 2015, http://www.thesearethevoyages.net/jc44; 2012 cruise blog, accessed 24 April 2015, http://www.oases2012.blogspot.com/; 2013 cruise JC 82 "deepest hydrothermal activity was observed at 5015 m"; WHOI YouTube video accessed 24 April 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKE83QLBeP4&list=PL1CGd4Scv4GJsaaFRzItk-btFI757bH8f&index=6
Notes Relevant to Biology:
Connelly et al., (2012): aggregations of Rimicaris hybisae (more than 2,000 individuals m-2) on vent chimneys, and around crevices issuing visible diffuse flow in the central region of the mound, along with high abundances of anemones (more than 20 individuals m-2) and extensive mats of filamentous microbes on the surfaces of mound sulphides. Occasional macrourid fish in the vent field, and solitary galatheid squat lobsters on the peripheral talus slope of the mound.
Year and How Discovered (if active, visual confirmation is listed first):
2010 AUV Autosub6000 and HyBIS TVG; 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, http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v3/n1/full/ncomms1636.html.
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, http://www.pnas.org/content/107/32/14020.full.pdf+html
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.
Murton, B.J. et al. (2010). Hydrothermal vents at 5000m on the Mid-Cayman Rise: the deepest and hottest hydrothermal systems yet discovered! American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2010, abstract #OS33F-05
Kinsey, J., and C. German (2013) Sustained volcanically-hosted venting at ultraslow ridges: Piccard hydrothermal field, Mid-Cayman Rise. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 380, 162-168.