Submarie Volanoes, Vents and Life
At least 70% of the volcanism on Earth is largely hidden under the oceans surface. Much of my research focuses on understanding how volcanoes and life evolve.
The Imax tower at Lost City rises three storys from the side of the active 6- m tall hydrothermal chimney called Poseidon.
For decades I have been fascinated by submarine volcanism and how these dynamic systems support life in the absence of sunlight. Early on my research focused on understanding the evolution of magmatic volatiles as melt within magma chambers transitioned from bslatic to near granitic-like compositions. Examining small capsules of magmatic and seawater-derived hydrothermal fluids, I traced the "volatile lines of decent" within mid-ocean ridge magma chambers, and documented boiling, supercritical phase separation and copper-rich brines identical to porphyry copper systems in rocks from numerous mid-ocean ridge systems. My current work focuses on understanding the evolution of volcanoes, the hydrothermal systems that they host and novel non-volcanic hydrothermal systems such as the Lost City Hydrothermal Field. I have been blessed to work with fine engineers that helped me develop a microbial incubator to examine the extreme in situ conditions under which life thrives, survives and expires within the walls of black smoker systems. I am fascinated by microbial blooms associated with underwater eruptions, the flx of volatiles during these events and how microbial biofilms evolve in the subsurface prior, during and following the eruptions.