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environment in which massive sulfide deposits
Schematic diagram to illustrate the environment in which massive sulfide deposits are formed within the ocean crust and at the sea-bed. Black smoker chimneys result when the metal-rich fluid reaches the sea-bed without having mixed with cold seawater in the upper part of the crust; when significant mixing occurs, the resultant fluids can be substantially cooler and are typically much less chemically enriched as they enter the ocean, having deposited much of their mineral content within the crust (these fluids are often also those most preferred by chemosynthetic organisms).  (Courtesy M. Baker, NOC, UK - Fig. 1a in Baker and German, Ocean Challenge magazine, 2008 )

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Last updated: December 30, 2008
 


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