delware environmental institute

Atlantic quest: Oceanographer leading expedition to hydrothermal vents for pyrite research

Atlantic quest:  Oceanographer leading expedition to hydrothermal vents for pyrite research

Last year, University of Delaware scientists made a splash with findings that tiny pieces of pyrite, also known as fool’s gold, from hydrothermal vents travel long distances deep within the Pacific Ocean. Now, they want to know if that is also true in the Atlantic.

College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment researchers are currently at sea — smack in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean — to find out. Led by George W. Luther, III, Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor of Oceanography, the team is investigating elements gushing from the vents and the implications for surrounding environments.

“Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, we’ll have a really good idea of the different kinds of sulfur and iron concentrations coming out of the vents,” Luther said.