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Centre for Geobiology

What are hydrothermal fields and where do we find them?

Everyone knows about geysers and hot springs in Iceland and Yellowstone National Park. The scientific name for these geological phenomena is hydrothermal zones or fields. The same kinds of phenomena are found on the sea-floor, mostly along the mid-ocean ridges. In addition, they are found along subduction zones, such as near Hawaii. Underwater hydrothermal fields are characterised by chimney-like structures.

The first hydrothermal chimneys were found near the Galapagos Islands in 1977. Many different kinds of hydrothermal fields have been discovered since then.

The chimney structures are found at all depths. They have been discovered as deep as 3600m and as shallow as 30m. During this summer's research cruise we plan to both observe and take samples in order to learn more about the processes that occur in these fascinating areas.