Story: Marine minerals

Minerals in a black smoker chimney (2nd of 2)

Minerals in a black smoker chimney

This close-up of a black smoker hydrothermal chimney spire shows copper-rich chalcopyrite crystals (yellow) and zinc-rich sphalerite (grey) near its margins. These different minerals reflect different temperatures within the chimney. Chalcopyrite indicates temperatures greater than 300ºC, whereas sphalerite indicates lower temperatures.

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GNS Science
Photograph by Alastair McLean

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How to cite this page:

Ian Wright, 'Marine minerals - Nodules, crusts and vents', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 June 2022)

Story by Ian Wright, published 12 Jun 2006