Deep-sea hot springs
Driven by heat from molten rock, the entire ocean circulates every one to ten million years through the crust along the mid-ocean ridges. About 80 percent of the Earth’s internal heat escapes in this way. This vast circulation — the underwater hydrothermal system — influences the composition of the ocean. The circulating hot seawater deposits some elements, such as magnesium, in the crust, and dissolves other elements, particularly metals, adding them to the ocean.
Topic: Earth Science
Keywords: Hydrothermal vents, Oceanography, Ocean circulation, Ocean bottom, Heat, Chemical elements, Mid-ocean ridges
At mid-ocean ridges, cold seawater is drawn down, heated, and forced to circulate through an extensive system of cracks above bodies of molten rock.
Tiny particles of metal sulfide and oxide minerals, resembling black “smoke,” billow from the hot-water vents.