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OUR BLUE PLANET

Underwater volcanoes give life to hundreds of species

It is hard to imagine, but underwater they cause torrents of lava to slide down, waiting to float away in a constant struggle with the sea. They are born where there are cracks, fractures or geological faults that separate tectonic plates.

That is, in very weak areas of the planet’s crust where molten rock flows as it tries to rise to the surface.

As they eject lava, they form new areas of seafloor, which comprise about 80% of the planet’s crust. However, their activity is constantly divided between construction and destruction.

“The eruptions of these volcanoes can be so catastrophic that they destroy the entire surrounding marine population. But after that, the area quickly begins to be colonised by new species, and the volcanic gases release nutrients that support the growth of bacteria and microorganisms that survive in extreme temperature conditions.

In this ecosystem, considered inhospitable because of the water temperature and acidity, they found huge sharks, rays and even previously unknown species.

These findings show that volcanoes, in addition to providing gases and metals that favour the chemical composition of the water, allow the formation of large food chains and are the habitat of new species.

 

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