Hydrothermal Vents- The Oceanic Volcanoes!!
Hydrothermal vents are oceanic volcanoes. They are like hot springs or geysers on the ocean bed. They are formed when the magma from the earth's interior meets the ocean's water. This meeting happens due to spreading apart of the tectonic plates of earth's crust due to which hot magma comes out.
Photo Credit- fineartamerica.com
In 1977, for the first time while underwater exploration in Galápagos Rift along the mid-ocean ridge in the eastern Pacific, scientists observed a rise in temperature in series and this is when hydrothermal vents were seen for the first time. They found that nearby areas of the vent had more marine species than in any other place, such as crabs, shrimps, octopus but they are only endemic meaning these species are found specifically in that area only owing to the depth and temperature, later scientists discovered that marine bacteria were responsible for this scene. They convert the minerals coming out from the hydrothermal vents to usable forms of energy through chemosynthesis providing food for other nearby vent organisms.
Photo Credit- oceanservice.noaa.gov
Some bacterias found here obtain energy from the vents and act as a recycling and decomposing system for the dissolved carbon dioxide which is essential for global carbon pool maintenance.
There are two types of vents:
1. Black hydrothermal vent- they constitute of Sulphur and the smoke can rise to 180 feets
2. White hydrothermal vent- they are rich in Barium, Calcium, and Silicon
White vent fumes are much cooler than black vent fumes. Valuable metals such as gold, zinc, and cobalt are extracted from such vents as a part of deep-sea mining. These are found all over the ocean region including the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic oceans. They are extremely important for balancing ecosystem and carbon level control.
Until next time, stay safe and stay tuned for more such amazing ocean details.