Deep sea neighborhood sees improvement when philanthropic vents release Fool’s Gold

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” King Solomon

There is not a lot life down in the deep sea. Fortunately, it is convenient that the hydrothermal vents down there share a wealth of minerals to the otherwise desolate neighborhood. More notably what was just uncovered is that iron particles (known as pyrite or commonly called Fool’s Gold) are released by the vents and suspend in the nearby environment. This discovery was made by researchers at the University of Delaware.

While it is not surprising that these vents release iron, what is shocking is that it does not fall directly to the bottom of the ocean floor as previously thought. Since the size of the iron particles that are released by the hydrothermal vents are so tiny (a diameter 1,000 times smaller than that of a human hair) they are actually dispersed throughout the water column of the deep sea this is turn helps create a richer more vibrant deep sea neighborhood than deep sea areas without vents.

“As pyrite travels from the vents to the ocean interior and toward the surface ocean, it oxidizes gradually to release iron, which becomes available in areas where iron is depleted so that organisms can assimilate it, then grow,” said scientist George Luther of the University of Delaware.

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