Abstract

Hot (≥ 88-120 °C) and acidic (pH ≤ 2.1) hydrothermal fluids rich in sulfate were discovered venting in the DESMOS caldera (depth = 1926 m), eastern Manus back-arc basin, Bismarck Sea, surrounded by Papua New Guinea. The abundant sulfate (≥ 32.8 mM, higher than the seawater value of 28 mM) with elemental sulfur deposition around the vents, and remarkably low δD(H2O) and δ 34S(H2S) values (−8.1‰ and −5.6‰, respectively), are suggestive of the incorporation of a magmatic fluid and the disproportionation of the exsolved SO2 from a magma body. The DESMOS fluid may be similar in origin to the acidic sulfate-chloride hot springs associated with subaerial volcanic activity. In contrast to the typical hydrothermal end member Mg concentration of 0, the DESMOS fluids are rich in Mg (46–52 mM), probably because of Mg dissolution by acid attack upon magnesium silicate minerals.

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