DR KEN MACDONALD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR KEN MACDONALD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
This mist of white particles is formed when the crust of a lava flow near a deep ocean hydrothermal vent is broken. Inside the lava flow, insulated by the crust of rock, hot water supports a large number of microbes. These form the white particles seen here. Deep ocean hydrothermal vents support a variety of life, all of which ultimately depend on microbes like this. It is the microbes that feed on the inorganic chemicals, such as hydrogen sulphide, produced by the vent, and so make it possible for other life forms to exist here. Photographed on the East Pacific Rise.
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