Extremities:  Geology and Life in Yellowstone and Implications for Other Worlds

MID-OCEAN RIDGE HOT SPRINGS

Hot springs are not confined to Yellowstone and other volcanos on continents. Hot springs occur along all of the world's mid-ocean ridges, where hot lava comes up from the mantle and forms new sea floor. These springs are homes to a complex ecology of microbes and macrobiota, including tube worms, blind crabs, and fish. Dr. Tony Irving worked with an expedition from the University of Washington that retrieved some deposits from one of these hydrothermal vents off of the Washington Coast. He brought pieces of this "black smoker" tube to examine.


Sheri Klug
 
Bugs in the Machine

Tony Irving holds a fragment of the 'black smoker' tube. Most of the tube is made of iron sulfide minerals, which are golden (like 'fools gold,' or pyrite).
 
Catherine, Susan, and Phyllis look on raptly.
     

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