Research CommentariesGeophysics

A New Spin on Hydrothermal Plumes

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Science  15 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5366, pp. 1034-1035
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5366.1034

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Mid-ocean ridges are locations underwater where magma rises to form new crust. Seawater that circulates near the magma is heated and emitted as a hydrothermal plume that rises from the sea floor. As Speer discusses in his research commentary, new results in the same issue by Lupton et al . offer the first direct look at the behavior of this rising plume. Using a combination of physical and chemical surveys, together with a drifting probe that could be submersed to a depth of 2 kilometers, Lupton et al. were able to map out the anticyclone pattern expected of a rising hydrothermal plume.