hydrothermal vent


noun Oceanography, Geology.

an opening on the floor of the sea from which hot, mineral-rich solutions issue.Compare vent1 (def. 2).

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Scientific definitions for hydrothermal vent

hydrothermal vent

A fissure on the floor of a sea out of which flows water that has been heated by underlying magma. The water can be as hot as 400°C (752°F) and usually contains dissolved minerals that precipitate out of it upon contact with the colder seawater, building a stack of minerals, or chimney. Hydrothermal vents form an ecosystem for microbes and animals, such as tubeworms, giant clams, and blind shrimp, that can withstand the hostile environment.♦ The hottest hydrothermal vents are called black smokers because they spew iron and sulfide which combine to form iron monosulfide, a black compound.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.