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2021-06-17

Why are scientists interested in hydrothermal vents?

Why are scientists interested in hydrothermal vents?

Hydrothermal vents support unique ecosystems and their communities of organisms in the deep ocean. They help regulate ocean chemistry and circulation. They also provide a laboratory in which scientists can study changes to the ocean and how life on Earth could have begun.

What are hydrothermal vents and why do some scientists believe they are possible sites for the origin of life?

These hydrothermal vents spew scalding hot water and various combinations of metals, sulfur, and other chemicals. They contain elements and conditions conducive to metabolic pathways that scientists believe were necessary for the evolution of life, but are missing from the other hypotheses.

Why do scientists believe that Luca lived in hydrothermal deep sea vents?

Luca’s genes suggest that the organism lived in extremely hot deep-sea vents, metabolizing hydrogen gas for energy. Some scientists have postulated that life itself originated in this type of environment. Martin has argued that Luca may not just be the common ancestor, but one of the very first living organisms.

How do scientists study hydrothermal vents?

AUVs can now be programmed to conduct surveys over hundreds of square kilometers of seafloor to search for hydrothermal plumes and gradients in those plumes that can lead to seafloor vent sites. Several types of AUVs have been developed to work in both shallow and some of the deepest regions of the oceans.

How hot are deep sea vents?

700° Fahrenheit

Why do hydrothermal vents die?

Vents are temporary features on the seafloor. They become inactive when seafloor-spreading moves them away from the rising magma or when they become clogged.

Where are the thickest sediments found?

Sediments are typically laid down in layers, or strata, usually in a body of water. On the seafloor, sediments are thinnest near spreading centers (young seafloor) and thicker away from the ridge, where the seafloor is older and has more time to accumulate. Sediments are also much thickest near continents.