|"Beehive" chimney from 2140 m in the ABE vent fields|
With time, iron, copper and zinc minerals -pyrite, chalcopyrite and sphalerite, become crystalline and harden, making large structures like we saw today. Heat-loving (thermophiles) microbes colonize these structures and then very quickly other invertebrates appear in places that are not too hot (more soon on the microbes and biology of the vents).
Today we collected numerous chimney samples to explore the microbes associated with these rocks. We also took temperature measurements and samples of the hydrothermal fluids being emitted from the chimney structures. To do this, we use an Isobaric Gas-Tight (IGT) sampler that is designed specifically to fill slowly and maintain the fluid samples at seafloor pressure (which is more than 200 times atmospheric pressure. Just think what that would do to a styrofoam cup if you took it down that deep! We'll do that experiment, and show you the result in an upcoming post).
|IGT sampling fluid of about 280 degrees Celsius|
After 8 IGT samplers-full, several sulfides and more, we are all ready for bed. Tomorrow. we'll give you a glimpse into some of our ABE scientific treasures.
Contributed by Morgan Haldeman