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Teacher Workshop November 2004

How Volcanoes Make Life Possible (at the Bottom of the Ocean)

Dr. Jeffrey S. Seewald is an Associate Scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He studies the way organic and inorganic materials interact in the formation of sea-floor sediment, and the chemistry of processes taking place below the sea floor in hydrothermal systems. He has worked on developing and using new tools and techniques to carrying out experiments in these high-heat deep ocean systems. He gave a presentation about how hydrothermal vents work and how the chemistry of vents and seawater create conditions that sustain several kinds of deep-sea bacteria and archaea. Later, he conducted a tour of his laboratory and displayed samples of hydrothermal vent minerals, walls, and equipment, including his sampler for hydrothermal vent fluids.

Related Resources


A. Hydrothermal Vents

B. Chemistry, life

C. Environment, oil spills, hydrocarbons , go to “sediment penetration exercise”

D. Extreme heat and cold

Web Resources

Hydrothermal Vents, Underwater Volcanoes