Hydrothermal plumes are one of the major components of the hydrothermal vent field in global mid-ocean ridge system, and profoundly have influence on the cycles of heat and mass flux in the deep ocean. Hydrothermal plumes survey is the most direct and effective way for locating the hydrothermal vents. In this paper, we briefly reviewed the advances in the subjects, survey techniques and analytical methods, and regional survey progresses in hydrothermal plumes study. The latest profound progress of the plume study since this millennium was reported briefly. The major scientific issues and the tendency of hydrothermal plumes study were summarized from the viewpoint of the earth system science concept and the hydrothermal resources exploration. Hydrothermal plumes play an important role in the global ocean cycling and marine chemistry. There should be a “minor revolution” in exploration to hydrothermal vent occurred in the coming future through the plume survey. The hydrothermal plumes study is becoming a frontier in the ocean science study.