Discovering Hydrothermal Vents
In 1977, geologists were testing a hypothesis. They thought that since there is active volcanism on a mid-ocean ridge and a lot of seawater, there should also be geysers. They weren’t prepared for the amazing life forms they discovered at those hydrothermal vents!
Amazing But True!
- The first hydrothermal vents were discovered in the Pacific Ocean, 250 miles off of the Galapagos. They have since been found at spreading ridges worldwide.
- The first view of hydrothermal vent life was seen in footage taken by a camera mounted on the submersible Alvin.
- Hydrothermal vent ecosystems are entirely independent of photosynthesis.
With the links below, learn more about hydrothermal vents. Then answer the following questions.
- Sci, 100 Great Discoveries, Hydrothermal Vents (video): http://science.discovery.com/tv-shows/greatest-discoveries/videos/100-greatest-discoveries-hydrothermal-vents.htm
- HowStuffWorks, Hydrothefrmal Vent (webpage): http://www.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/geology-terms/hydrothermal-vent-info.htm
- How does the water at a hydrothermal vent site get hot?
- What are the rock chimneys made of and how do they form?
- Hydrothermal vent organisms live in total darkness. What do they use for energy?
- Why are the creatures found at hydrothermal vents so different from creatures found at the surface?