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Title: Mercury fluxes from hydrothermal venting at mid-ocean ridges constrained by measurements
Authors: Torres-Rodriguez, Natalia
Yuan, Jingjing
Petersen, Sven
Dufour, Aurélie
González Santana, David 
Chavagnac, Valérie
Planquette, Hélène
Horvat, Milena
Amouroux, David
Cathalot, Cécile
Pelleter, Ewan
Sun, Ruoyu
Sonke, Jeroen E.
Luther, George W.
Heimbürger-Boavida, Lars Eric
UNESCO Clasification: 251002 Oceanografía química
Issue Date: 2024
Journal: Nature Geoscience 
Abstract: Methylmercury is a potent toxin threatening the global population mainly through the consumption of marine fish. Hydrothermal venting directly delivers natural mercury to the ocean, yet its global flux remains poorly constrained. To determine the extent to which anthropogenic inputs have increased oceanic mercury levels, it is crucial to estimate natural mercury levels. Here we combine observations of vent fluids, plume waters, seawater and rock samples to quantify the release of mercury from the Trans-Atlantic Geotraverse hydrothermal vent at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The majority (67–95%) of the mercury enriched in the vent fluids (4,966 ± 497 pmol l−1) is rapidly diluted to reach background seawater levels (0.80 pmol l−1). A small Hg fraction (2.6–10%) is scavenged to the Trans-Atlantic Geotraverse mound rocks. Scaling up our findings and previous work, we propose a mercury flux estimate of 1.5–64.7 t per year from mid-ocean ridges. This hydrothermal flux is small in comparison to anthropogenic inputs. This suggests that most of the mercury present in the ocean must be of anthropogenic origin and that the implementation of emissions reduction measures outlined in the Minamata Convention could effectively reduce mercury levels in the global ocean and subsequently in marine fish.
ISSN: 1752-0894
DOI: 10.1038/s41561-023-01341-w
Source: Nature Geoscience [ISSN 1752-0894], v. 17, p. 51-57
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