Abstract

The Kinousa, Memi, Kambia, Kapedhes, and Sha massive sulfide deposits located in the Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus, contain fossils from Late Cretaceous hydrothermal vent communities that lived on a spreading ridge above a subduction zone in the Neotethys ocean. The Troodos vent fossils provide unequivocal evidence for the exhalative origin of the host massive sulfide deposits, including those that are now located deep within the lava pile. The fossil vent assemblages are of low diversity; they contain numerous vestimentiferan worm tubes, uncommon cerithioid and epitoniid gastropods, and rare (?)serpulid worm tubes. Among the reported modern and ancient vent communities the presence of epitoniid gastropods is unique to Cyprus. At least three of the Troodos vent communities were living on the sea floor around the same time and were as closely spaced as vent communities on modern fast-spreading ridges. Together with slightly older vent worm tubes from the Semail ophiolite of Oman, currently 2500 km from Cyprus, the Troodos fossils show that hydrothermal vent communities were present in the Neotethys ocean from the Cenomanian to the Turonian, a time span of ∼5 m.y.

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