Vents and Volcanoes

Student Investigation:

How Black Smoker Vent Chimneys Form

Grade Level:

6th - 8th (Chemistry/Geology)

Activity/Investigation Description:

Near spreading centers or subduction zones cold seawater percolates down through fissures in the ocean crust, is heated by hot magma, and reemerges, forming hydrothermal vents. At some vents known as black smokers, rocky chimneys can rise more than 50 meters from the sea floor. In this investigation, students explore how a solid forms from the mixing of two liquids and use the science ideas they develop to help explain how chimneys form at hydrothermal vents.


Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): 
  • Performance Expectation: MS-PS1-2
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas: PS1.A, PS1.B
Ocean Literacy Essential Principles: 
  • Principle 1