Atlantic Ocean Floor Unexpectedly Pumping Iron

Posted: August 21, 2013  |  By: Tim Wall [Discovery News]

Previously, oceanographers thought the Atlantic Ocean seafloor didn’t spit out as much iron as other regions. However, a recently discovered plume of iron billowing from the depth of the Atlantic Ocean suggests the seafloor may be pumping iron like a young Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The oceanic iron cloud spreads for more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) across the Atlantic from west of Angola, Africa, to northeast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The iron-rich waters flow 1,500 to 3,500 meters (4,921 – 11,482 feet) beneath the surface of the ocean. The complete extent and shape of the iron plume remains to be discovered.

“We had never seen anything like it,” said Mak Saito, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute scientist and lead author of the study, in a press release. “We were sort of shocked—there’s this huge bull’s-eye right in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. We didn’t quite know what to do with it, because it went contrary to a lot of our expectations.”

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