Scientists who were exploring the Galápagos Rift in 1977 noticed of a sudden change of temperature in their data. They were amazed on how the temperature in the deep sea can drastically change in a mere short span of time. These scientists had made a discovery called deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Not only the spike in temperature awed them, they also realized that there were uncommon water species living around the vents.
These species were able to live in the deep sea vents despite the absence of sunlight, extreme pressure, changes in temperatures, and toxic minerals. Later, the scientists discovered that the bacteria convert the toxic minerals into energy through the process called chemosynthesis. This energy from toxic materials serves as the species’ life support. This process allowed the species around the vent thrive.
Deep sea vents, also called hydrothermal vents, are characterized with a mix of factors. These factors include chemicals, minerals, and temperature, as well as the kind of flow of their plumes. Deep sea vents can be similar to hot springs found in the ocean floor. Deep sea vents are formed through a series of events. It starts along mid-ocean ridges where the tectonic plates are away from each other. Here, the magma rises and cools to create new crusts.
The seawater will circulate in the crusts and will become extremely hot because of its exposure to the hot magma. As pressure arises, the seawater will become warm. The warm temperature of the seawater dissolves the minerals. The hotter the seawater is, the more minerals it dissolves. This process makes the seawater rich in minerals. It will then rise towards the crust’s surface, and the hot water filled with minerals will leave the crust to join the sea water above it. The seawater has a cool temperature, and it will solidify the minerals, forming into deep sea vents.