Volume 86 Issue 35 | pp. 62-63
Issue Date: September 1, 2008

Tracking Ocean Iron

Hydrothermal vents could be a significant source of dissolved iron in the South Pacific
Department: Science & Technology

OF ALL THE trace metals in the ocean, iron is the most important for sustaining life. That's because many marine organisms living in surface waters use enzymes that require dissolved iron for vital processes such as photosynthesis. But dissolved iron is scarce in surface waters because it is constantly converted into particles that sink into the deep sea and settle into sediments.

For decades, oceanographers thought atmospheric mineral dust was the major source of dissolved . . .

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