Discovery of the Jøtul Field: Unveiling a New Hydrothermal Vent System

Discovery of the Jøtul Field: Unveiling a New Hydrothermal Vent System

In 2022, during the MARIA S. MERIAN expedition led by Prof. Dr. Gerhard Bohrmann, researchers discovered the Jøtul Field on the Knipovich Ridge, off Svalbard’s coast. This field marks a significant finding on this 500-kilometer-long ridge situated at the junction of the North American and European tectonic plates.

Hydrothermal Vents and Their Formation

Hydrothermal vents are openings in the ocean floor where hot, mineral-rich fluids escape from beneath the Earth’s crust. These fluids are heated by magma and rise through cracks, forming tube-like chimneys known as black smokers.

Exploration of the Jøtul Field

The expedition used the MARUM-QUEST submersible to explore the Jøtul Field, located at depths exceeding 3,000 meters. Named after a figure in Nordic mythology, this field offers insights into hydrothermal activity on slow spreading ridges.

Scientific Significance and Climate Implications

The Jøtul Field is of particular scientific interest due to its methane-rich fluids, indicating active magma-sediment interactions. Methane emissions contribute to ocean acidification and atmospheric greenhouse gas levels.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) with Answers:

  1. Where was the Jøtul Field discovered?
    • A) Greenland
    • B) Svalbard
    • C) Norway
    • D) Iceland
    • Answer: B) Svalbard
  2. What causes the formation of hydrothermal vents?
    • A) Sedimentary erosion
    • B) Volcanic activity
    • C) Glacial melting
    • D) Tidal forces
    • Answer: B) Volcanic activity
  3. Which vehicle was used to explore the Jøtul Field?
    • C) Loki’s Castle
    • D) Aurora Field
    • Answer: B) MARUM-QUEST
  4. Why is the discovery of the Jøtul Field significant for climate research?
    • A) It contains rare minerals
    • B) It is near the North Pole
    • C) It emits methane
    • D) It has deep-sea organisms
    • Answer: C) It emits methane
  5. What is the focus of the upcoming MARIA S. MERIAN expedition?
    • A) Studying Arctic ice formations
    • B) Exploring deep-sea organisms
    • C) Sampling new areas of the Jøtul Field
    • D) Investigating tectonic plate movements
    • Answer: C) Sampling new areas of the Jøtul Field