How sulfide chimneys form main content.

How sulfide chimneys form

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

How Sulfide Chimneys Form AMNH/R.Mickens

Tiny particles of metal sulfide and oxide minerals, resembling black “smoke,” billow from the hot-water vents. The particles begin to build a delicate honeycomb structure. As the hot water continues to flow, a chimney-like structure with organized channelways starts to develop. As the chimneys grow, their interiors become insulated from the cold seawater, allowing zones of high-temperature minerals to form along the channelways.