Are there hydrothermal vents in the mariana trench?

Asked by: Blair Hagenes PhD
Score: 4.7/5 (55 votes)

In the Mariana region, only the volcanic arc has been systematically explored for hydrothermal vents, resulting in the discovery of 20 hydrothermally active seamounts and over 20 new species. These remarkable discoveries directly inspired the establishment of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument in 2009.

How big is the hydrothermal vent in the Mariana Trench?

The researchers happened upon the hydrothermal vents just 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of the Challenger Deep— the deepest spot on the planet, where the seafloor plunges to 35,700 feet (10,880 meters).

Where are hydrothermal vents most often found?

The most numerous and spectacular hydrothermal vents are found along world's mid-ocean ridges. The heat source for these springs is the magma (molten rock) beneath the volcanic ridge system.

At what depth do you find hydrothermal vents?

Part of the reason it took so long to find them is because hydrothermal vents are quite small (~50 meters across) and are usually found at depths of 2000 m or more.

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Can anything survive in around a hydrothermal vent?

Most bacteria and archaea cannot survive in the superheated hydrothermal fluids of the chimneys or “black smokers.” But hydrothermal microorganisms are able to thrive just outside the hottest waters, in the temperature gradients that form between the hot venting fluid and cold seawater.

What animals live in hydrothermal vents?

Animals such as scaly-foot gastropods (Chrysomallon squamiferum) and yeti crabs (Kiwa species) have only been recorded at hydrothermal vents. Large colonies of vent mussels and tube worms can also be found living there. In 1980, the Pompeii worm (Alvinella pompejana) was identified living on the sides of vent chimneys.

How old are hydrothermal vents?

Many scientists think life got its start around 3.7 billion years ago in deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

What comes out of hydrothermal vents?

A venting black smoker emits jets of particle-laden fluids. The particles are predominantly very fine-grained sulfide minerals formed when the hot hydrothermal fluids mix with near-freezing seawater. These minerals solidify as they cool, forming chimney-like structures.

What ocean zone contains hydrothermal vents?

Hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean typically form along the mid-ocean ridges, such as the East Pacific Rise and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. These are locations where two tectonic plates are diverging and new crust is being formed.

What is the average temperature of deep sea hydrothermal vents?

Hydrothermal fluid temperatures can reach 400°C (750°F) or more, but they do not boil under the extreme pressure of the deep ocean. As they pour out of a vent, the fluids encounter cold, oxygenated seawater, causing another, more rapid series of chemical reactions to occur.

How do animals survive near hydrothermal vents?

Organisms that live around hydrothermal vents don't rely on sunlight and photosynthesis. Instead, bacteria and archaea use a process called chemosynthesis to convert minerals and other chemicals in the water into energy.

What sediment deposit is most commonly found around hydrothermal vents?

The precipitation of dissolved chemicals from seawater. These kinds of sediments are found commonly near hydrothermal vents. Cosmogenous sediments are probably the most interesting of all four kinds of sediment because they are alien in nature. These kinds of sediments are carried to earth on meteorites or asteroids.

Why are hydrothermal vents hard to find?

The search for new hydrothermal vents is difficult because areas just a few tens to a hundred metres in size must be found within the vast ocean. For this search, marine scientists usually employ sensors lowered from the ship on a steel cable.

Why was the discovery of hydrothermal vents in the 1970s such a big deal?

It turns out that nutrients and chemicals belching out of the vents were fueling a rich and productive ecosystem. Communities of microbes fed off chemicals in the vent fluids. The microbes were hosted symbiotically by the strange creatures of the deep, which provided shelter in exchange for food.

How long do hydrothermal vents last?

They become inactive when seafloor-spreading moves them away from the rising magma or when they become clogged. Some vent fields may remain active for 10,000 years, but individual vents are much shorter-lived.

What is the relationship between thermocline and hydrothermal vents?

Thermocline of the tropical ocean. The two areas of greatest temperature gradient in the oceans are the transition zone between the surface waters and the deep waters, the thermocline, and the transition between the deep-sea floor and the hot water flows at the hydrothermal vents.

How did hydrothermal vents create life?

By creating protocells in hot, alkaline seawater, a research team has added to evidence that the origin of life could have been in deep-sea hydrothermal vents rather than shallow pools. ... Some of the world's oldest fossils, discovered by a UCL-led team, originated in such underwater vents.

How many hydrothermal vents are there?

The team found 184 hydrothermal vents for 1470 kilometers of ocean floor, or one vent every 2 to 20 kilometers, according to research published online in Earth and Planetary Science Letters . That's far greater than the one vent for every 12 to 220 kilometers that used to be the norm, they reported.

Are there plants in hydrothermal vents?

Besides the other nonalgal plant communities mentioned earlier, there are chemoautotrophs in hydrothermal vent communities, which use inorganic reactions rather than light as the energy source, and some bacteria are photosynthetic. However, algae are responsible for at least 95% of marine primary production.

Why do scientists think white smoker hydrothermal vents are a likely place for the origins of early life?

One of the greatest mysteries facing humans is how life originated on Earth. ... Inspired by these findings, scientists later proposed that hydrothermal vents provided an ideal environment with all the ingredients needed for microbial life to emerge on early Earth.

How do animals living near hydrothermal vents get their food energy?

At deep hydrothermal vents, though, specialized bacteria can convert the sulfur compounds and heat into food and energy. As these bacteria multiply, they form thick mats on which animals can graze.

Why are most fish in the abyss blind?

Another eye adaptation is that many deep-sea organisms have evolved eyes that are extremely sensitive to blue light. ... Fishes and organisms living in the abyssal zone have developed this ability not only to produce light for vision, but also to lure in prey or a mate and conceal their silhouette.

How do Zoarcid fish survive in hydrothermal vents?

Zoarcid fishThese two-foot long white fish are top predators around vents. ... A clam also uses its foot to move around. Just like the mussels, clams depend on symbiotic bacteria that live in their gills. These bacteria use the chemicals in the hydrothermal fluid to produce sugars.

Why do animals live near hydrothermal vents?

Tube Worms

Chemotrophic bacteria that convert hydrogen sulfide into organic sustenance are some of the most important organisms in the hydrothermal vent habitat. Many of the marine creatures that live near hydrothermal vents utilize these bacteria as a source of food.