Global Distribution of Hydrothermal Activity Working Group

Chair: Chris R. German

Working Group Members:
USA - Ed Baker
USA - Y. John Chen
UK - Don Cowan
Japan - Toshitaka Gao Gamo
Spain - Eulália Grácia
Germany - Peter Halbach
New Zealand - Gary Massoth
Korea - Dr. Sang-Mook Lee
France - Joël Radford Knoery
USA - Anna-Louise Reysenbach
USA - Dan Scheirer
Canada - Steve D. Scott
France - Kevin G. Speer
USA - Carol A. Stein
USA - Cindy Lee Van Dover
Canada - Verena Tunnicliffe

Global Digital Database Working Group

Chair: Philippe Blondel

Working Group Members:
Christine Deplus
Martin Jakobsson
Marco Ligi
Takeshi Matsumoto
Kyoko Okino
William Ryan
Jordi Sorribas Cervantes
K. A. Kamesh Raju
Ron McNab
Wilhelm Weinrebe

This working group was active between 1995 and 2000 and had the goal to establish a database of multibeam bathymetry and other data for the mid-ocean ridge and back-arc basins.

1999 - Global Digital Database WG update

by Philippe Blondel, Chair

Arctic Ridges Working Group

Chair: Colin W. Devey

Working Group Members:
Russia - Georgiy A. Cherkashev
USA - Bernard J. Coakley
USA - Kathleen Crane
France - Olivier Dauteuil
Russia - Vladimir Glebowsky
Iceland - Karl Gronvold
Canada - H. Ruth Jackson
Korea - Young Keun Jin
Germany - Wilfried Jokat
Norway - Yngve Kristoffersen
USA - Peter J. Michael
UK - Neil C. Mitchell
Germany - Hans Albert Roeser
Japan - Hideki Shimamura
Japan - Yoshifumi Nogi
USA - Cindy Lee Van Dover

Mission Moho

The formation and evolution of the oceanic lithosphere is the dominant process in the chemical differentiation and physical evolution of our planet. Plate tectonic processes completely repave the ocean basins every 100–200 million years. Lithosphere formation encompasses the transfer and transformation of material and energy from Earth’s mantle to the crust and from the crust to the ocean and atmosphere. Independent of sunlight, the evolving ocean crust supports life in unique seafloor and subseafloor habitats that may resemble Earth’s earliest ecosystems. From its formation until its return to the mantle by subduction, the evolving oceanic lithosphere interacts with seawater, sequesters water and other materials, and ultimately recycles them back into the mantle.

2005 DES Working Group Proposal

Excerpt from the 2005 proposal

2006 Update

Deep Earth Sampling Working Group update. April 2006

Recent Working Group Activities

Monitoring the Mid Atlantic Ridge - MoMAR

MOMAR brings together researchers from the international scientific community to plan a long-term monitoring program on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in a region south of the Azores. With an emphasis on real-time data retrieval, MOMAR plans to combine long-term monitoring of geological, physico-chemical, and biological activity at hydrothermal vents with broader-scale monitoring of tectonic, volcanic and hydrothermal processes at the ridge axis.

Mid-Atlantic Ridge Symposium, 1996

Symposium Summary

FARA-InterRidge Mid-Atlantic Ridge Symposium
Reykjavik, Iceland, 19th - 22nd June 1996

Conveners: Charles H. Langmuir and H. David Needham

This symposium, focused on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) between 15° - 40°N,
marked the completion of the FARA (French American Ridge Atlantic) project.

Management of Hydrothermal Vent Sites

Report from the InterRidge Workshop: Management and Conservation of Hydrothermal Vent Ecosystems

Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney (Victoria), B.C., Canada
28 – 30 September, 2000

The discovery of chemosynthetic-based ecosystems at hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean was one of the most important findings in biological science in the latter half of the 20th century. More than 100 vent fields have been documented along the 50,000 km global mid-ocean ridge system. At this time, over 500 new animal species, over 80% of which are endemic to the vents, have been described from this environment1. Unusual, highly-evolved symbioses between invertebrates and chemolithautotrophic bacteria are common at vents, producing concentrations of biomass that rival the most productive ecosystems on Earth. The predominance of chemoautrophic and hyperthermophilic microbes in hydrothermal vent waters has stimulated new theories of the origin of life on Earth. It has also prompted astrobiologists to seriously consider geothermal energy as a viable power source for biosynthesis and maintenance of carbon-based life forms on other worlds.

Other Publications


2012 - Ridge 2000 Special Issue of Oceanography
The Ridge 2000 Special Issue of Oceanography Magazine is available online. The full issue pdf and pdfs of individual articles in the issue are available free of charge via The Oceanography Society website:
We encourage you to make use of this excellent compendium of oceanic spreading center science and summary of Ridge 2000 Program results.

InterRidge Initial Science Plan

InterRidge Initial Science Plan

The first decade of InterRidge (1992- 2003) saw the building of a strong international community which began to address problems of ridge research which could only be tackled as an international effort. This community was guided by the Intitial Science Plan, set out below. As of 2004 the Next Decade Science Plan is in effect - this Next Decade Science Plan is more strongly working group orientated and concentrates on finding ways to approach the major open problems of ridge research


2006 Report

Working Group Update- Biogeochemical Interactions at Deep-Sea Vents

Science Links

Ridge Programs

Ridge 2000
Ridge 2000 is an interdisciplinary research program in the USA - sponsored by NSF - focused on integrated studies of Earths oceanic spreading centers.

To go directly to R2K MediaBank: image gallery.
To go directly to visualizations of the R2K ISS's: Ridge View.

German Mid-Ocean Ridge Research