Submarine massive sulfide deposits (SMS) are often seen as a possible future contribution to a secure metal supply for global human needs. Resource estimates, however, are lacking several of the fundamental answers that need to be addressed. There are currently several orders of magnitude between resources estimates based on observations at the seafloor and those based on metal fluxes.
We need to understand how much of the metal that is released by high-temperature fluid convection over a given length of a ridge axis and over a specific geological time frame is actually deposited as massive sulfides. Additionally, exploration is currently mainly targeting young, active deposits due to the ease of identifying chemical and physical tracers of hydrothermal activity in the water column… (read more).