Poster Abstract Title: 
Global distribution of hydrothermal vent fields
Authors and their affiliations: 
Stace E. Beaulieu(1), Edward T. Baker(2), and Christopher R. German(1); (1) Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543 (, (2) NOAA PMEL, Seattle, WA 98115-0070

Since the visual confirmation of deep seafloor hot springs, or hydrothermal vents, at the Galapagos Rift in 1977, submarine hydrothermal activity has been studied in all ocean basins, at a wide range in depth, and in a variety of volcanic and tectonic settings. In 2004 Baker and German undertook a review of the global distribution of hydrothermal vent fields (in Mid-Ocean Ridges: Hydrothermal Interactions Between the Lithosphere and Oceans, Geophysical Monograph Series 148, German, C.R. et al., eds., 245-266). As InterRidge Coordinator, Beaulieu combined Baker’s global listings of vent fields with several other listings, incorporated new findings including from commercial industry, and in 2010 released the revised InterRidge Global Database of Active Submarine Hydrothermal Vent Fields ( The database provides a comprehensive listing of confirmed (visually, from seafloor observations) and inferred (based on water column measurements and/or seafloor sampling) active hydrothermal fields. As of the end of 2009, there were 229 confirmed active submarine hydrothermal vent fields, with 47% at mid-ocean ridges, 27% at volcanic arcs, 21% at back-arc spreading centers, and 5% intra-plate and other tectonic settings. Thirty-five percent of the confirmed active vent fields were confirmed in the decade 2000-2009, with a relatively large number of these at volcanic arcs. The total number of inferred active vent fields at the end of 2009 was 273, more than double the number in Baker and German (2004) and reflective of the increased efforts in systematic surveys for detection of hydrothermal plumes. Although many of the recent discoveries were made by academic researchers, an increasing number of discoveries are due to national and commercial interests in seafloor mineral exploration.

Contributions to Integration and Synthesis: 
The Ridge 2000 Program focuses on three Integrated Studies Sites, two of which are representative of mid-ocean ridge tectonic settings at intermediate (Juan de Fuca, Endeavour) and fast (EPR) spreading rates, and the other a back-arc spreading center (Lau). The revised global map presented in this poster shows the distribution of all known hydrothermal vent fields in all volcanic and tectonic settings, and will be useful to display during the R2K Meeting for a geographic perspective. The database, available online in several formats, includes additional information such as spreading rate and temperature that may be useful in comparing to R2K ISS vent fields.