Fool’s Gold from Hydrothermal Vents to Plankton

A nice little paper in Nature Geoscience that helps reconcile iron budgets for the word’s oceans.  The hot, mineral rich water that spews from hydrothermal vents contains a significant amount of fool’s gold, or iron pyrite.  Because iron pyrite is more resistant to rusting than basic iron and much of the iron pyrite venting is nanoparticles, they are though to disperse great distances before sinking and dissolving.  What makes this finding more important is that iron is often a limiting factor for phytoplankton growth in the oceans.  Thus, hydrothermal vents may an indirect but major role in carbon production in the world’s oceans.