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Deep-sea hot springs

Deep Sea Hot Springs AMNH/R.Mickens

Exhibition Text

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.

For Educators

Topic: Earth Science

Subtopic: Oceans

Keywords: Hydrothermal vents, Oceanography, Ocean circulation, Ocean bottom, Heat, Chemical elements, Mid-ocean ridges

Audience: General