Record Hotspot

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Record hotspot found underwater

Scientists working in the southern Atlantic Ocean have found a 407 C hydrothermal vent, the hottest yet known on an ocean floor.  Expedition leader Andrea Koschinsky of International University in Bremen , Germany , and her team found the hydrothermal vent just south of the Equator on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at a depth of 2,990 metres.


The vent is located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the African and the South American continental plates are moving apart at the relatively sedate rate of 3.2 cm a year. In the Pacific, by comparison, the Pacific and Nazca plates are speeding apart at some 15 cm per year.

The accepted wisdom has been that faster plate movement leads to more volcanic activity at the spreading site, says Colin Devey, a member of the team and a geologist at Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel , Germany . The discovery of this hotspot will change people's thinking, he says. "The accepted wisdom is wrong."

Story by Ned Stafford at
http://news.nature.com//news/2006/060522/060522-15.html

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See also It's not global warming, it's ocean warming

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