How are cold seeps different from hot vents?

How are cold seeps different from hot vents?

Unlike the chemicals around hydrothermal vents, cold seeps are similar in temperature to the surrounding waters. Seeps also tend to be more stable than hydrothermal vents. Hydrothermal vents are relatively short-lived, but cold seeps are long-lasting. The base of the food web is also different in cold seeps.

How are hydrothermal vents and cold seeps related?

Hydrothermal vents and cold seeps are places where chemical-rich fluids emanate from the seafloor, often providing the energy to sustain lush communities of life in some very harsh environments. Cold seeps and hydrothermal vents differ from one another in the underlying conditions that form and drive them.

How are hydrothermal vents formed?

Hydrothermal vents are the result of seawater percolating down through fissures in the ocean crust in the vicinity of spreading centers or subduction zones (places on Earth where two tectonic plates move away or towards one another). The cold seawater is heated by hot magma and reemerges to form the vents.

Where are cold seep communities formed?

Cold seeps are places on the seafloor where cold hydrocarbon-rich water escapes. They occur most often at tectonic plate boundaries. Carbonate deposits and communities of organisms are often found at these sites.

How cold are cold seeps?

The “cold” is relative to the very warm (at least 60 °C or 140 °F) conditions of a hydrothermal vent. Cold seeps constitute a biome supporting several endemic species. Cold seeps develop unique topography over time, where reactions between methane and seawater create carbonate rock formations and reefs.

What animals live by hydrothermal vents?

Animals such as scaly-foot gastropods (Chrysomallon squamiferum) and yeti crabs (Kiwa species) have only been recorded at hydrothermal vents. Large colonies of vent mussels and tube worms can also be found living there. In 1980, the Pompeii worm (Alvinella pompejana) was identified living on the sides of vent chimneys.

How far down are hydrothermal vents?

Most of the hydrothermal vents that have been investigated have been more than 2000 meters below the surface of the ocean because this is the depth at which most of the mid-ocean ridges are found. However, there are places where mid-ocean ridges are much shallower.

What animals live in hydrothermal vents?

What can we learn from hydrothermal vents?

Learning about these organisms can teach us about the evolution of life on Earth and the possibility of life elsewhere in the solar system and the universe. Many previously unknown metabolic processes and compounds found in vent organisms could also have commercial uses one day.

What do seeps mean?

1 : to flow or pass slowly through fine pores or small openings : ooze water seeped in through a crack. 2a : to enter or penetrate slowly fear of nuclear war had seeped into the national consciousness— Tip O’Neill.

How old are the tube worms surrounding the cold seep?

They can easily live for more than 200 years!

Are Riftia found in cold seeps?

Lamellibrachia is a genus of tube worms related to the giant tube worm, Riftia pachyptila. They live at deep-sea cold seeps where hydrocarbons (oil and methane) are leaking out of the seafloor, and are entirely reliant on internal, sulfide-oxidizing bacterial symbionts for their nutrition. L.

How are cold seeps different from hydrothermal vents?

Unlike hydrothermal vents, which are volatile and ephemeral environments, cold seeps emit at a slow and dependable rate. Likely owing to the cooler temperatures and stability, many cold seep organisms are much longer-lived than those inhabiting hydrothermal vents.

What causes cold seeps in the deep sea?

Cold seeps are another environment of the deep sea loaded with energy-rich chemicals. Cold seeps occur at fissures, or cracks in the seafloor, that are caused by the movement of earth’s tectonic plates. The environment of hydrothermal vents and cold seeps is different in terms of temperature and longevity.

Where does the energy from cold seeps come from?

In cold seeps, hydrogen sulfide, methane, and other hydrocarbon-rich chemicals leach from petroleum deposits. These chemicals began as organic matter, which was transformed under high temperature over millions of years—they are a form of fossil fuel. Thus, the energy contained in cold seep chemicals can be traced back to the sun.

How are vents and seeps in the ocean created?

Below the photic zone—the sunlit, upper reaches of the ocean—many microbes have evolved chemosynthetic (instead of photosynthetic) processes that create organic matter by using oxygen in seawater to oxidize hydrogen sulfide, methane, and other chemicals present in vent and seep fluids.

What makes a cold seep in the ocean floor?

cold seep: A cold seep (sometimes called a cold vent) is an area of the ocean floor where hydrogen sulfide, methane, and other hydrocarbon-rich fluid seepage occurs, often in the form of a brine pool. “Cold” does not mean temperature of seepage is lower than surrounding sea water. Actually, its temperature is often slightly higher.

What kind of fluid is in a cold seep?

A cold seep (sometimes called a cold vent) is an area of the ocean floor where hydrogen sulfide, methane, and other hydrocarbon-rich fluid seepage occurs, often in the form of a brine pool.

What are the characteristics of a cold seep vent?

Compared to the more stable cold seeps, vents are characterized by locally high temperatures, strongly fluctuating temperatures, pH, sulfide and oxygen concentrations, often the absence of sediments, a relatively young age, and often unpredictable conditions, such as waxing and waning of vent fluids or volcanic eruptions.

How are cold seeps and hydrothermal vents related to food production?

Cold seeps and hydrothermal vents of deep oceans are communities that do not rely on photosynthesis for food and energy production. These systems are largely driven by chemosynthetic derived energy.