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Silica from hydrothermal vents

Brent Viers brent at jemcom.crs.uc.edu
Tue Jul 16 11:41:35 EST 1996

Please forgive me if this query is out in left field-I am a chemist, and thus
would be interested in the chemistry angle about deep sea hydrothermal vents. I
know that the vents spew a good amount of silica into the ocean-could the
silica be a source of chemisynthethic energy-to wit, silica would be an
inorganic homolog of carbon dioxide (Si is below C in the periodic table)  and
should have similar reactions. Of course, sand wouldn't be a food source, but
that might be because the threee dimensional polymeric network of silica isn't
soluble, and hence easily assimilated into the bacteria, whereas hydrothermal
silica might be more soluble. 
	Also, what is methane generally oxidized into? I've looked into some books
about hydrothermal vents, I'm hoping that someone can point me to some heavy
duty chemistry references. Thanks in advance for any help. ;)

Brent D. Viers
Department of Chemistry
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0172

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