Black smoker hydrothermal vent, illustration

Black smoker hydrothermal vent, illustration

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Credit: JOSE ANTONIO PENAS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Black smoker hydrothermal vent, illustration. Black smokers are seabed volcanic vents where minerals dissolve in water superheated by magma (molten rock). The minerals precipitate out on contact with the cold surrounding water, producing 'smoke' (white). The minerals form crusts around the vents, causing them to grow into tall chimneys over time. The chimney is surrounded by marine invertebrates, including giant tube worms (Riftia pachyptila, red and white). The invertebrates that colonise hydrothermal vents are able to tolerate high temperatures.

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