The orangish-brown material is iron oxide encrusted microbial mats, often observed at low-temperature hydrothermal vents.

The orangish-brown material is iron oxide encrusted microbial mats, often observed at low-temperature hydrothermal vents. Image courtesy of NOAA / NSF / WHOI.

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Submarine Ring of Fire 2012: Chemoautotrophic Microbes at or near Hydrothermal Vents

Submarine Ring of Fire 2012: NE Lau Basin

NOAA Ocean Explorer Gallery