Hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur isotope studies of seafloor hydrothermal system at the Desmos caldera, Manus back-arc basin, Papua New Guinea: An analogue of terrestrial acid hot crater-lake

Kaul R. Gena, Hitoshi Chiba, Toshio Mizuta, Osamu Matsubaya

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The Onsen site is an active submarine hydrothermal system hosted by the Desmos caldera in the Eastern Manus Basin, Papua New Guinea. The hydrothermal fluid is very acidic (pH=1.5) and abundant native sulfur is deposited around the vent. The δ34S values of native sulfur range from -6.5 to -9.3‰. δ34S values of H2S and SO4 in the hydrothermal fluid are -4.3 to -9.9 ‰ and +18.6 to +20.0 ‰, respectively. These δ 34S values are significantly lower than those of the other hydrothermal systems so far reported. These low δ 34S values and the acidic nature of the vent fluids suggest that volcanic SO2 gas plays an important role on the sulfur isotope systematic of the Onsen hydrothermal system. Relationship among the δ34S values of S-bearing species can be successively explained by the model based on the disproportionation reaction starting from the volcanic SO2 gas. The predicted δ34S values Of SO2 agree with the measured whole rock δ34S values. δD and δ 18O values of clay minerals separated from the altered rock samples also suggest the contribution of the magmatic fluid to the hydrothermal system. Present stable isotopic study strongly suggests that the Onsen hydrothermal site in the Desmos caldera is a magmatic submarine hydrothermal system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-190
Number of pages8
JournalResource Geology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2006



  • Hydrogen isotope
  • Manus Basin
  • Native sulfur
  • Oxygen isotope
  • Seafloor hydrothermal system
  • Sulfur isotope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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