Hydrogeology of Ocean Lithosphere

December 11-12, 1998 – Santa Cruz, California
Convener: Earl Davis, Harry Elderfield, Jon Martin, Keir Becker


Significant advances have been made recently in approaching the overall goal of understanding the history of mass and heat transport through the oceanic crust. The most useful work has involved truly inter-disciplinary studies including geochemistry, geophysics, numerical modeling, and long-term observatories. Recent advances underscore both the pivotal role played by scientific ocean drilling in providing in situ samples and experimental capabilities as well as the emerging importance of including microbiology in crustal hydrogeological studies.

Future work must be truly inter-disciplinary (i.e., spanning fields from microbiology to geophysics), and should generally focus on two approaches: (1) detailed studies at a few select sites to understand ocean crustal hydrogeological processes well, and (2) efficient reconnaissance surveys in “representative” but poorly understood settings, particularly in older ocean basin environments, to assess the levels of hydrologic activity and hence to improve quantitative estimates of global fluxes.

The sampling and long-term subseafloor observatory capabilities represented in scientific ocean drilling are crucial to these future objectives. It is our hope that this report will be useful in planning hydrogeological drilling objectives in the ridge flank and ocean basin environments.

Workshop Report (pdf)

Organizing Committee
Keir Becker, University of Miami
Earl Davis, Geological Survey of Canada
Harry Elderfield, University of Cambridge
Jon Martin, University of Florida