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Supercritical Black Smoker Found In The Atlantic Ocean

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posted on May, 26 2006 @ 03:40 PM
The hottest yet known black smoker has been found in the southern Atlantic Ocean just south of the Equator at a depth of 2,990 metres. The vent was first discovered in March 2005 but the true temperature and samples were not made until this May. The 407 °C hydrothermal vent turns the seawater into being a supercritical fluid, something between a thin liquid and a dense vapour.

Photo: © MARUM, University of Bremen Record hotspot found underwater

25 May 2006

Scientists working in the southern Atlantic Ocean have found a 407 °C hydrothermal vent, the hottest yet known on an ocean floor. Although only 5 °C hotter than the previous deep-sea high of 402 °C, recorded in the Pacific Ocean, the new hotspot bumps seawater into the strange state of being a supercritical fluid. Expedition leader Andrea Koschinsky of International University in Bremen, Germany, and her team found the hydrothermal vent, also known as a black smoker, just south of the Equator on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at a depth of 2,990 metres — or 299 bar pressure. At pressures and temperatures above 298 bar and 407 °C, seawater becomes something between a thin liquid and a dense vapour: a supercritical fluid.

Such fluids can diffuse through solids a bit like a gas and dissolve materials more like a liquid. In industrial applications, supercritical carbon dioxide and water are used as solvents thanks to these unusual properties. On the ocean floor, supercritical seawater could dissolve and transport minerals from the surrounding rocks differently than at other hot vents.

A complete chemical analysis of the supercritical fluid won't be possible until the expedition ends in early June and the team returns to land-based laboratories, Koschinsky says. But it is already clear that the water is quite different from that at other vents. "This vent has some very strange chemistry," says Koschinsky. It has very little if any free hydrogen sulphide, for example, which has been found in high concentrations in all other vent samples.

We'll have to wait for a complete chemical analysis of this vent. The team will have to return to land-based labs and the expedition ends in early June. They already know for sure that the chemistry in this vent is very different from other vents.

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posted on May, 26 2006 @ 04:22 PM
im wondering if it has any relation to this:

posted on May, 26 2006 @ 04:27 PM
Nope, I don't think this is related to this tsunami prediction at all. How could it possibly be related to this? No way...

posted on May, 26 2006 @ 04:33 PM

Originally posted by bluecode
im wondering if it has any relation to this:

Please don't give the guy any more new ideas. His site is kaput and he realized what a shmuck he was.

Helmutt: Nice find. Other then Chemical Solvents what other possibilities could this vent serve to research? Have they found any type of marine life living around or near this vent I wonder?


posted on May, 26 2006 @ 04:49 PM

Originally posted by ThePieMaN

Have they found any type of marine life living around or near this vent I wonder?

I don't know about this one, but near the one they found in the Arctic there was an oasis featuring "tropical-like coral and unusual plant life"...

posted on May, 26 2006 @ 08:54 PM
Wikipedia has a good entry explaining the Black smokers.

Wikipedia: Black smoker

New and unusual species are constantly being discovered in the neighborhood of black smokers

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 04:52 PM
Another Black Smoker, heh. The Hydro-thermal Mega Plume has a "distant
cousin" eh. interesting. Now new or improved species of aquatic life will rise.

posted on Jun, 20 2006 @ 05:51 PM
Well, one thing its good for is understanding the minerals and other materials that are down below the crust at that area. Not really anything you can do with the data until we have the technology to mine down there... but its nice to know whats down there.

Quench your thirst for knowlege sort of thing.

posted on Aug, 27 2006 @ 11:32 AM
Here are two interesting pdf files. You need a pdf reader (i.e. Adobe) to see the pdf files, but I guess everybody knows that...
Ref. initial article: "Expedition leader Andrea Koschinsky".

1.) Black smoker hunters:

Boiling points (pdf file) - Nature, February 2006

2.) ...and then this report:

3. Weekly Report M68/1, 8-14 May, 2006 (pdf file)

With best wishes from the central Atlantic
Andrea Koschinsky and all cruise participants of M68/1

posted on Sep, 2 2006 @ 03:32 PM
Title so confused me I thought It gonna be somthing like "Black Man Caught Smoking in Atlantic Ocean"...

Hmm intresting, but their surlly could be ones at 500c with the size of the ocean.

posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 04:13 AM
Here are the reports for week 4, 5 and 6.

4th Weekly report M68/1, 14-21 May, 06 (pdf file)

5th Weekly Report M68/1, 20-28 May, 06 (pdf file)

6. Wochenbericht M68/1, 28.5.-2.6.06 (pdf file)

posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 04:39 AM
I hope these things are stable - i,e don't just pop up here and there.

Cos I've herd about vast reserves of frozen methane beneath the seas. I know forinstance that Iceland is a very volcanic area - and that Methane is far more effective as a greenhouse gas.

A couple of 400 C hydrothermal vents may be enough to beak off chunks of that stuff (it will change to a gas in the lower pressures of shallow water) A line of vents opening up could send an entire shelf into the atmosphere!!!

posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 05:44 AM
Great find Helmutt,

When they say pressure at 298 bar ( 4300 psi ), does this mean its flowing at this pressure?

I am trying to picture that amount of pressure ( comparable to a nicely powered pressure washer ) coming out of the sea floor. And at 407 °C to boot.

Must be an awesome sight.

posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 10:17 PM
I read about this a couple years ago. Can't recall the exact article I came across but I think this one is the updated version. There's a video to the right Found: The hottest water on Earth

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