Hydrothermal Vent Communities
Student Activity


  • poster paper or oak tag, size optional. Minimum 11x14 inches recommended.
  • color pencils or markers

Student Activity

Draw a series of five posters, each depicting the same vent site at different stages of its life.

  1. Imagine yourself in a submersible vehicle a mile or more down on a mid-ocean ridge. You observe evidence of a recent volcanic eruption.

  2. Draw what you see. Label everything you draw, either directly on your drawing or by using a legend.

  3. Imagine yourself returning to the same place one year, two years, and three years later.

  4. You observe hydrothermal fluid shooting out vents each time you visit. Draw and identify what you observe each time as you did in the poster of your first visit. Pay special attention to any changes that may have occurred since your last visit. Have any structures changed? gotten bigger? disappeared? Are there any new animals? new deposits? Are any animals you saw before gone now?

  5. When you return four years later all you see is black lava and some burned tubes. Draw this scene and discuss what may have happened.

helpful hint: You may need to go to some of the references listed under For the Teacher for information to help you complete this activity. Another good resource is National Geographic, vol.186, No. 5. November 1994, pg. 114-126.



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