Scientists have finally solved the mystery of cooling of Earth’s crust at an unexpected rate. According to scientists, they have discovered a new type of seafloor vent system due to which our planet is cooling at a much faster rate than expected. Also, the new seafloor vent system might spew some clues on past climatic conditions of our Earth with a far better accuracy.
Scientists already knew that Earth’s crust is cooling much faster than theoretically expected, but they were unable to answer about the mismatch till now. Researchers from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and the Univeristy of Southampton in Britain believe that they have found the reason behind difference in theoretical values and observational values.
According to researchers, they have found a new class of hydrothermal venting at the Von Damm Vent Field in the Caribbean during an expedition on board the NOC-maintained Royal Research Ship James Cook. After discovering the hydrothermal venting, researchers made a map of the vent field with the help of sonar on the autonomous submarine named Autosub6000. Later, remotely operated vehicle;e (ROV) was sent soon to collect the samples of hydrothermal fluids and minerals.
Further analysis of samples amazed study authors, as they found that chemistry and minerals in the Von Damm Vent site were very different when compared to other known vents. While explaining, researchers said that unlike volcanic heat that comes from magma chambers, heat in Von Damm Vent comes from hot rock pushed towards the seabed by low angle faults called tectonic spreading centres
Usually such vents are filled with iron and copper sulphides, However, this new vent was filled with nearly fifty-metre tall mounds of magnesium and calcium which is very strange.
“We expect this new type of vent system can be found in tectonic seafloor spreading sites across the globe,” said Bramley Murton who co-supervised this research. Scientists believe that the new discovery can tell us about past global Earth climate more accurately.
The study appeared in the journal Nature Communications.