At the Endeavour site, a northern segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, the earth’s tectonic plates are spreading apart, and magma is welling up creating new crust. In some places, water is being drawn down below the surface, superheated by the magma (to temperatures over 750°F/400°C), and expelled through hydrothermal vents. These vents deposit dissolved minerals on the seafloor and overtime build up to become large chimneys. E/V Nautilus encountered some extraordinarily large and elaborate examples of these smokers on a recent 2017 dive in partnership with Ocean Networks Canada.
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