Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Ocean Plume Could Be Major Source of Iron

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Ocean Plume Could Be Major Source of Iron

Article excerpt

Scientists have discovered a vast plume of iron and other micronutrients more than 1,000 km long billowing from hydrothermal vents in the South Atlantic Ocean. The finding, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, may challenge researchers' assumptions about iron sources in the world's seas.

"This study and other studies like it are going to force the scientific community to reevaluate how much iron is really being contributed by hydrothermal vents," says Mak Saito, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and lead author of the study.

Saito and his team set sail aboard the R/V Knorr in 2007 as part of an expedition to map chemical composition and microbial life along a route between Brazil and Namibia. Along the way, the scientists gathered seawater samples at frequent intervals and multiple depths.

Their route passed over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a band of mountains and valleys running along the ocean floor from the Arctic to the Antarctic, where several of the Earth's major tectonic plates are slowly spreading apart. Some of the seawater samples taken over the ridge, analyzed back in the lab, showed unexpectedly high levels of iron and manganese. When researchers plotted the sites of the iron-rich samples, they realized the samples formed a distinct plume--a cloud of nutrients ranging in depth from 1,500 to 3,500 m that spanned more than 1,000 km. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.