A Far-Field Hydrothermal Plume from Loihi Seamount

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Science  17 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5264, pp. 976-979
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5264.976


An extensive helium plume in the north central Pacific emanates from Loihi Seamount on the flanks of Hawaii. The maximum helium signal is found at a depth of about 1100 meters, the same depth as the near-field plume directly above Loihi Seamount. Although this helium plume is strongest near Hawaii, where the 3He/4He ratio at a depth of about 1100 meters reaches values 28 percent above the atmospheric ratio, it can be detected quite clearly at latitude 24°N, over 400 kilometers to the north. Excess 3He is also present on the same isopycnal between 15°N and 20°N at 135°W, some 2000 kilometers east of the Hawaiian Islands.