Stirring the Oceanic Incubator

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Science  24 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5572, pp. 1406-1407
DOI: 10.1126/science.1072075

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Earthquakes may affect hydrothermal systems hundreds of kilometers away. But as Dziak and Johnson explain in their Perspective, the effects differ widely between terrestrial and oceanic systems. Recent studies have shown that changes in fluid temperature and flow rate at sea-floor hydrothermal vents may be delayed by several days after the earthquake, whereas in terrestrial systems the change is usually instantaneous. Biological communities are also affected differently, depending on their reliance on geothermal versus photosynthetic energy.