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Hot springs on the sea floor

Role in the carbon balance of oceans and the climate

Hot springs on the sea floor

October 5, 2015

In a comprehensive study, researchers at the Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment at Oldenburg University, together with researchers at Jacobs University Bremen and other institutions, investigated the effect that numerous hot springs located on the ocean floor can have on the ocean’s carbon balance.

A large portion of the ocean’s carbon exists in the form of stable dissolved organic molecules, whose stability depends greatly on the temperature. The researchers found that even the most stable carbon compounds are destroyed in heating systems of hot springs up to 400°C. Since seawater circulates over long periods of time through The hydrothermal cells in the ocean’s crust, the maximum lifespan for dissolved carbon is about 40 million years. This process is part of the carbon cycle of the oceans, which therefore, has a long-term impact on climate.

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