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Black Smoker Geysers

Once I began to enjoy collecting minerals, my curiosity took over. I realized these beautiful things came from the earth but how did they get there? How do they form? Thus began a lifelong journey into mineral literature and asking questions about minerals. You would think that by now we have all the answers about how minerals end up where we find them. Wrong! We are still making discoveries that relate to where minerals come from.

One of the most informative and significant modern discoveries about minerals happened in 1979 when scientists were doing deep ocean explorations along the East Pacific Rise, where crustal faulting and spreading and volcanic activities were occurring. The research revealed super-hot, black waters gushing like geysers from the fault zones on the ocean floor. The water was super-hot because it was bursting from deep in an area of hot volcanic activity, under pressure that was exposed on the seafloor that was slowly spreading apart along a major fault. These hot spring erupting areas were what scientists call volcanic vents, which are places where the super-heated waters within the crust are under such pressure that they had to burst forth.

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Rock&Gem Magazine
June 2019

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