3-9 Hydrothermal Vents

3-9 Hydrothermal Vents - Ve and S e nts e ps hapte 4 r C...

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Vents and Seeps Chapter 4 Topic 22
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HYDROTHERMAL VENTS/COLD SEEPS Hydrothermal vents discovered in 1977 on Galápagos Rift at 2500 m Occur at mid-ocean spreading centers worldwide Methane/hydrocarbon seeps (“cold” seeps) discovered at 600 m near the LA-TX Flower Gardens
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Hydrothermal vents: Fissures or chimneys in ocean crust where geothermally heated water is released Undersea hot springs Areas of volcanic activity Specific vent sites active for decades Chimneys spew hot, smoky water An extreme environment
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Vents: Water heated to 350 o C vents from the ocean’s crust Ambient temperature ~ 4 o C Maximum temp for thermophilic bacteria ~ 113 o
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Figure 2.25
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Figure 4.56 An extreme environment
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Complex chemistry Vent water rich in H 2 S (at highly toxic concentrations) and metal ions SO 4 when heated forms H 2 S H 2 S reacts with metal ions to form metal sulfides (M x more in vent water than ocean)
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An oasis of biological activity Unique and dense vent community of crabs, vent worms, mussels, clams, fish and polychaetes
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3-9 Hydrothermal Vents - Ve and S e nts e ps hapte 4 r C...

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