HydrothermalVentsand OilPlumes

Information about HydrothermalVentsand OilPlumes

Published on October 9, 2007

Author: Justine

Source: authorstream.com

Content

Hydrothermal Vents and Oil Plumes :  Hydrothermal Vents and Oil Plumes Derica Peters Owen Wilson-Chavez Cody Baczewski What are Hydrothermal Vents?:  What are Hydrothermal Vents? A hydrothermal vent is essentially a geyser on the seafloor. It continuously spews super-hot (about 400°C), mineral-rich water. A vast and diverse community of organisms thrive in this area. Oceanic hydrothermal vents are usually found along mid-ocean ridges, such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge How are Hydrothermal Vents Created?:  How are Hydrothermal Vents Created? Shifting tectonic plates create cracks and crevices in the ocean floor. As water seeps in through these openings it is heated by magma under the Earth’s crust. As it’s temperature rises, it searches the seafloor for an outlet back into the ocean. Once found the extremely hot (400°C) water then bursts through the vents. What are Oil Plumes?:  What are Oil Plumes? Oil plumes, or petroleum seeps, are also home to communities that receive their energy from sources other than the sun. They’re basically the same thing as hydrothermal plumes, except that petroleum “seeps” out instead of water and minerals. The First Hydrothermal Vent:  The First Hydrothermal Vent Hydrothermal vents were only recently discovered. A group of marine geologists first discovered them at the Galapagos Ridge in the Pacific Ocean in 1976. In 1977 geologists returned with ALVIN, a research submersible, to see hydrothermal vent communities for the first time. Chemosynthesis – Basis of a Community:  Chemosynthesis – Basis of a Community Almost all plants and animals depend upon Photosynthesis for energy. Ecosystems based off of hydrothermal vents, however, are not. Bacteria near hydrothermal vents use sulfur compounds instead of sunlight to produce energy in a process known as chemosynthesis. What Lives in a Hydrothermal Vent Community?:  What Lives in a Hydrothermal Vent Community? The bacteria grows into a thick mat which attracts other organisms. Snails, shrimp, crabs, fish, and octopuses form a food chain. It is even hypothesized by some that life on Earth began around hydrothermal vents Tube Worms:  Tube Worms One of the main inhabitants of the area around a hydrothermal vent is the tube worm. Down in the depths where not even sunlight penetrates, these tube worms can grow to lengths of up to 8 feet. Continuing Research and Conservation:  Continuing Research and Conservation Most are located very deep undersea, making research efforts difficult. Scientists hope to obtain more information because though they are small, they may play a large role in the ocean’s chemistry, temperature and circulation patterns Conservation is a possibility but until more is known about the vents, it is hard to say what should be done. Sources Cited:  Sources Cited http://www.ocean.udel.edu/deepsea/level-2/geology/vents.html www.wikipedia.com www.washington.edu www.nsf.gov http://www.onr.navy.mil/Focus/ocean/habitats/vents2.htm

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