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Abstract

Hydrothermal precipitates occur in both the northern and southern troughs of the Guaymas Basin in the Gulf of California. A talc-pyrrhotite deposit in the northern trough is interpreted to have formed at temperatures around 280°C. Numerous hydrothermal spires and mounds composed of carbonates, sulfates, silicates, metal (Fe, Zn, Cu-Fe, Pb) sulfides, and iron oxides are found at a water depth of 2000 m in the southern trough. Some structures are actively venting hydrothermal fluid at temperatures of more than 300°C. Predominant minerals include calcite, barite, amorphous silica, stevensite, pyrrhotite, and marcasite. Mineral assemblages present and the compositions of the individual minerals can best be explained by the mixing of end-member hydrothermal fluid with ambient seawater. Most minerals are precipitated at the vent site largely in response to decreasing temperature induced by mixing.

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