Hydrothermal Vents

Photos courtesy of: W. Lange (WHOI), R. Lutz (Rutgers U.), T. Shank and D. Fornari (WHOI), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution National Deep Submergence Facility, and National Science Foundation.

In 1979, scientists in Alvin dove to the Mid-Ocean Ridge in the eastern Pacific. A spectacular sight greeted them. Clouds of what looked like black smoke were billowing from tall chimneys on the ocean floor.

Explore vent basics, vents around the world, vent chemistry, boiling points, videos, and test what you've learned with a quiz!


Vent Discovery CD coverIn 1977, scientists made a stunning discovery on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean that forever changed our understanding of planet Earth and life on it. They found seafloor vents gushing shimmering, warm, mineral-rich fluids into the cold, dark depths. And, to their complete surprise, they found that the vents were brimming with extraordinary, unexpected life.

Dive into hydrothermal vents and explore their unique geology, chemistry and biology.