Today we are going on a trip deep into the ocean. We are going to travel to a unique habitat called hydrothermal vents. Let see how far down we need to go. Picture of ocean
We have to go past the sunlit zone and the twilight zone where we find most of the oceans life.
We are stopping at the midnight zone which is between 1,000-4,000m. Most hydrothermal vents are found around 2,000 m.
Well what is a hydrothermal vent? Look at the picture Let’s think of some things on land that we can compare it to?
Is it like a volcano? Did the last picture look like lava was coming out of the vent? No, lava does not come out of hydrothermal vents. Picture of Volcano
Is it like a geyser? Like old faithful in Yellowstone? Yes it is! A hydrothermal vent spews hot water, not lava into the ocean.
Where do we find hydrothermal vents?
One area has so many vents it’s called the ring of fire. How hot can it get at a hydrothermal vent? The water coming out of the vent can reach 750 degrees Fahrenheit.
How do you think they are made? How are volcanos made? Plate movement. Find image of plates
Not dinner plates! Tectonic Plates. The earth’s crust is divided into different plates
The plates move apart creating cracks in the earth. Seawater seeps into these openings and is heated by the molten rock, or magma, that lies beneath the Earth's crust. As the water is heated, it rises and seeks a path back out into the ocean through an opening in the seafloor. Find a picture/video of earth cracking.
Some vents have chimneys. These are formed from dissolved metals that precipitate out when the super hot water meets the cold ocean water.
There are white smokers and black smokers. Black smokers are the hotter of the two. They spew out mostly iron and sulfide,
The white smokers have a cooler water temperature. They often contain barium, calcium, and silicon which give them their white color.
Who are the primary producers on land? That’s right plants. Plants photosynthesis to make food for themselves. If we have no sunlight at hydrothermal vents can we have photosynthesis? Photo of Plant
We can’t have photosynthesis but we do have primary producers. Bacteria use chemicals instead of sunlight to produce energy. This is called chemosynthesis.
What kind of animals do we have living in hydrothermal vents? Tubeworms. Photo of tubeworms
You find clams, mussels and crabs around hydrothermal vents.