What natural science says about Black smokers.

When playing MARA the racing game you pass a cluster of black smokers and have to navigate wisely in between them not to be burned by the hot black vent water.

Deep down on the ocean floor one can find Black Smokers. They look like chimneys and are formed when extremely hot mineral-rich water (up to 400 ºC) flows out from narrow slits in the earth’s surface. Despite the high temperatures the water does not boil because the water pressure in the deep sea is so high. The water is very acidic, often as sour as vinegar. It contains sulphides and when it mixes with the cold ocean bottom water tiny particles settle out. It is these particles that make the hot water appear black and smoky. Over time they also build up the chimney structures that are known as black smokers.

The most recent find of black smokers were discovered on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, at the edge of the Arctic Ocean, by researchers from the University of Bergen. They were found in July 2008 and called Loki’s Castle because of the many rich mineral towers in the field and because they were so hard to find – just like the trickster Loki in Norse mythology.

A black smoker venting