Abstract

The lipid component in hydrothermal deposits of the Logachev vent field, at 14 degrees 45'N of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) and Broken Spur vent field, at 29 degrees N of the MAR, was studied. Biochemical, gas chromatographic (GS), and molecular mass methods (GC-MS) research established the mixed nature of the organic matter (OM) including phytoplanktonogenous, chemosynthesized lipids, and lipids of questionable origin. Specific local conditions around the sulfide ores of the black smokers (absence of free oxygen and presence of reduced copper, which prevents OM degradation) facilitate the preservation of biogenic material, including bacteria. The main differences between the lipid compositions of the hydrothermal deposits of these two vent fields relate to the variable nature of hydrothermal circulation systems. At the 14 degrees 45'N vent field, high-temperature hydrothermal fields are forming due to the reaction of sea water with upper mantle ultrabasic rocks during serpentinization (a deep hydrothermal circulation system). High pressure and temperature (>400 degrees C), a reducing environment and the presence of various metal oxides are favorable for the abiogenic synthesis of CH 4 and oil hydrocarbons (HC). At the Broken Spur vent field, hydrothermal deposits are forming above axial crust magma chambers due to the interaction of sea water and basalts (an axial hydrothermal circulation system). Abiogenic synthesis of HC also occurs in this situation, but to a considerably lesser extent.

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