Hydrothermal Vents

Hi guys! I’m back with another location spotlight. Hydrothermal vents are amazing habitats for many types of creatures, but first, what are they?

What are they?

Hydrothermal vents are basically underwater geysers. They form because of tectonic plate movement, which can allow magma to break through the crust. When magma breaks through the crust, the water becomes superheated. There are two types: black smokers and white smokers. Black smokers are the hottest and are dark due to the high iron sulfide content. White smokers are cooler (but still extremely hot) and mainly contain silica and barite.


This interesting phenomena can create an interesting ecosystem for organisms trying to survive in the area. The general temperature can reach about 400 degrees Celsius, or 752 degrees Fahrenheit. Farther away, it gets cooler, with a stable temperature of 20 degrees Celsius, or 68 degrees Fahrenheit.


Because of their special environment, hydrothermal vents host a plethora of amazing creatures. Some of these are yeti crabs, dumbo octopus, mussels, and more. Tubeworms can use their tubes, which are made of chitin to protect them from the chemicals and predators. They don’t have a mouth or stomach. They host bacteria that produce sugars through chemosynthesis to create their food. Many species can only survive at hydrothermal vents, the yeti crab and tubeworms being the main examples. Types of bacteria survive by using a technique called chemosynthesis, using chemical energy to convert carbon dioxide into a usable substance without the sun.

Photo credits: White smoker: Wikipedia Black smoker: Deep Sea Spy Dumbo octopus: Nautilus Live Yeti crabs: Pinterest Tube worms: Wikipedia

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