Seabed Vents Create Organic Molecules

By on May 4, 2015

Seabed vents may be responsible for the creation of organic molecules. (Credit: P. Rona / OAR/National Undersea Research Program; NOAA)

A new study suggests seabed vents may be responsible for the creation of organic molecules, according to a press release by the University College London. UCL chemists conducted a study using supercomputer replications and laboratory experiments to determine what conditions allowed dissolved carbon dioxide to change into organic molecules.

The experiments replicated conditions in deep sea vents where hot, carbon dioxide-dense saltwater mixes with greigite, a mineral found nearby. The supercomputer replicated their interactions and displayed detailed views for scientists to see.

Researchers found that the vents’ inner structures encouraged chemical changes and that mineral particles within were chemically similar to enzymes. Results of the study demonstrate how chemicals can be created from carbon dioxide, which could be used to replace oils in plastics and fuels.

Top image: Seabed vents may be responsible for the creation of organic molecules. (Credit: P. Rona / OAR/National Undersea Research Program; NOAA)

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