What is a hydrothermal vent?
Hydrothermal vents are the result of seawater percolating down through fissures in the ocean crust in the vicinity of spreading centers or subduction zones (places on Earth where two tectonic plates move away or towards one another). The cold seawater is heated by hot magma and reemerges to form the vents.
Where are hydrothermal vents?
Like hot springs and geysers on land, hydrothermal vents form in volcanically active areas—often on mid-ocean ridges, where Earth’s tectonic plates are spreading apart and where magma wells up to the surface or close beneath the seafloor.
What do hydrothermal vent look like?
The water escaping from deep hydrothermal vents may be clear-ish and have low concentrations of minerals or it may be white or black and be characterized by high concentrations of minerals. These so-called white or black smokers look like chimneys, constantly blowing ‘smoke’ up from the sea floor.
What is a hydrothermal vent simple?
A hydrothermal vent is a fissure on the seafloor from which geothermally heated water discharges. They are commonly found near volcanically active places, areas where tectonic plates are moving apart at spreading centers, ocean basins, and hotspots.
Why hydrothermal vents are important?
Hydrothermal vents support unique ecosystems and their communities of organisms in the deep ocean. They help regulate ocean chemistry and circulation. They also provide a laboratory in which scientists can study changes to the ocean and how life on Earth could have begun.
Who discovered hydrothermal vents?
Dr. Robert Ballard
Forty years ago, a team of researchers including our founder Dr. Robert Ballard discovered hydrothermal vents smoking deep below the Galapagos Islands. This 1977 discovery changed our understanding of Earth processes and the possibilities for life to thrive on this planet.
What eats Pompeii worm?
These bacteria use a process called chemosynthesis to produce sugar from the chemicals spewed out by hydrothermal vents. Predators: Many of the crabs, lobsters, and other creatures can feed on the Blind Shrimp. Predators: Large fish, octopus, blind crabs and squids.
How hot can Pompeii worms survive?
131 degrees Fahrenheit
On its own, a Pompeii worm can only tolerate temperatures up to 55 degrees Celsius (131 degrees Fahrenheit), but their bacterial coating redistributes the heat to keep the worm cool. The bacteria not only help regulate the temperature of the worm, they also break down minerals from the vent to aid their host.
Why are hydrothermal vents important?
How do Pompeii worms breathe?
Thought to subsist on vent microbes, the Pompeii worm pokes its feather-like head out of its tube home to feed and breathe. The plume of tentacle-like structures on the head are gills, coloured red by haemoglobin.