Characterizing ancient and modern hydrothermal venting systems

Ben Manton*, Philipp Müller, Adriano Mazzini, Dmitry Zastrozhnov, Dougal A. Jerram, John M. Millett, Daniel W. Schmid, Christian Berndt, Reidun Myklebust, Sverre Planke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Ancient hydrothermal vent complexes have released large volumes of greenhouse gases in the past causing global warming, and similar modern vent structures are potential geohazards. In the NE Atlantic, thousands of hydrothermal vent complexes were formed during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. In Java, Indonesia, the erupting Lusi sediment-hosted geothermal system caused the displacement of 40,000 people. In order to determine how ancient and modern hydrothermal venting systems are related, we map a well-defined buried hydrothermal vent complex offshore mid-Norway using 3D seismic reflection data and then compare it to the active Lusi eruption (since 2006) and the neighboring inactive Porong Structure. These are characterized using 2D seismic reflection data, borehole data and field observations. The venting structures are subcircular in plan-view and a few kilometers in diameter. They are funnel-shaped in profiles, with inward-dipping beds surrounding the conduits. The hydrothermal vent complex offshore mid-Norway reveals five seismically-distinct vent fill facies units. Importantly, two of the facies units are separated by an angular unconformity, clearly indicating that the depositional events within the vent fill were distinct. Hydrothermal fluids are interpreted to have led to the fluidization of mud-rich sediments which were erupted and deposited in and around the vent complex. Interpretation of a seismically transparent body along the conduit of the Norwegian venting structure, and the abrupt widening of the conduit at the Porong Structure, are interpreted to be caused by changes in fluid-flow dynamics as the fluids rise and get released from the host-rock. The hydrothermal venting systems in Java and offshore mid-Norway are found to be morphologically similar and are interpreted to form as the result of the transport and eruption of fluidized sediments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106781
Number of pages23
JournalMarine Geology
Early online date1 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
TGS are thanked for kindly providing seismic, well, velocity and potential field data for offshore Norway. Minarak Brantas are thanked for kindly providing seismic and well data in Indonesia. Dwarika Maharjan (VBER) is thanked for participation in basalt interpretation for Fig. 5 . Nina Lebedeva-Ivanova (VBER) is thanked for surface processing after seismic interpretation as well as comments. This work was partly funded by the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Program Grant agreement No. 308126 (Lusi LAB project, PI A. Mazzini). We acknowledge the support of the Research Council of Norway (NFR) through the HOTMUD project number 288299 and its Centres of Excellence Funding Scheme , project number 223272 (CEED). Dr. Kamaldeen Omosanya, Dr. Daniele Maestrelli, an anonymous reviewer as well as Editor Dr. Michele Rebesco are thanked for their constructive comments during the review process.

Corrigendum to “Characterizing ancient and modern hydrothermal venting systems” [Marine Geology 447 (2022) 106781] (Marine Geology (2022) 447, (S0025322722000524), (10.1016/j.margeo.2022.106781)) - The authors regret that the author affiliation was incorrect for Philipp Müller such that Mr Müller is affiliated to ‘b’ and ‘c’ rather than ‘a’ and ‘c’. The authors would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Data Availability Statement

The Norwegian Sea data, including the seismic cube AMN17, are commercially available through the data owner TGS. Permission to use the data was provided by TGS. See contact details: GEBCO data are available from


  • Geophysics (seismic)
  • Geothermal systems
  • Hydrothermal vents
  • Java Indonesia
  • NE Atlantic
  • Volcanic continental margins


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