B. MURTON / SOUTHAMPTON OCEANOGRAPHY CENTRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY B. MURTON / SOUTHAMPTON OCEANOGRAPHY CENTRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Black smoker vent. View of a hydrothermal vent on the mid-Atlantic ridge several kilometres beneath the surface of the Atlantic ocean. These vents, commonly called "black smokers", emit dark, sulphurous mineral-rich water at temperatures of hundreds of degrees Celsius. This water is heated by geothermal energy due to movements of the Earth's crust. Deep sea vents provide an unusual habitat to some primitive forms of extremophile bacteria and deep sea crabs (one seen at lower centre, white) which can survive the immense pressure and huge range of temperatures.
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