Ocean Floor Geysers Warming The Seas

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Ocean Floor Geysers Warming The Seas
(And we wonder why the oceans are warming)

22 Sep 08 - An international team of earth scientists reports finding warmed sea water moving through the flat, Pacific Ocean floor off Costa Rica.

Located between 50 and 150 miles offshore, the region studied covers an area the size of Connecticut. The sea floor, some two miles below, contains about 10 widely separated outcrops or mounts rising from extinct volcanic rock beneath the sedimentary crust.

Carol Stein, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her colleagues found that seawater on this cold ocean floor is flowing through cracks and crevices faster and in greater quantity than typically found at mid-ocean ridges formed by rising lava. Water temperatures, while not as hot as by the ridge lava outcrops, are surprisingly warm as well.

"It's like finding Old Faithful in Illinois," said Stein. "When we went out to try to get a feel for how much heat was coming from the ocean floor and how much sea water might be moving through it, we found that there was much more heat than we expected at the outcrops."

The water gushing from sea floor protrusions warms as it moves through the insulated volcanic rock and picks up heat.

The findings were reported in a letter printed in Nature Geoscience's September 2008 issue. The lead author is Michael Hutnak, now with the U.S. Geological Survey.

See entire article:
Thanks to Larry Lund for this info



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