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Estimates of hydrothermal heat flux (MW) for the 33-year time series (black dots; note break on the vertical axis). Pink band at bottom shows "normal" heat flux averaging ~15 MW. Yellow bands show intervals of increased heat flux following eruptions (red triangles and dashed lines), which reached values as high as 1200 MW. About two-thirds of the total heat flux occurred during the 10 years shown by the yellow bands.
About 80% of volcanic activity on Earth occurs on the deep seafloor of the global ocean. These eruptions are concentrated where the Earth’s tectonic plates collide or separate, accelerating the transfer of heat, chemicals, and microbes from the crust to the ocean through hydrothermal venting (the discharge of high-temperature fluids heated within the Earth’s crust) from the seafloor. A primary... more