Sulfur Vents Quotes

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Silence. Then, “What does. This. Sound like?” “What does what sound like?” “Io is a sulfur-rich, iron-cored moon in a circular orbit around Jupiter. What does this. Sound like? Tidal forces from Jupiter and Ganymede pull and squeeze Io sufficiently to melt Tartarus, its sub-surface sulfur ocean. Tartarus vents its excess energy with sulfur and sulfur dioxide volcanoes. What does. This sound like? Io’s metallic core generates a magnetic field that punches a hole in Jupiter’s magnetosphere, and also creates a high-energy ion flux tube connecting its own poles with the north and south poles of Jupiter. What. Does this sound like? Io sweeps up and absorbs all the electrons in the million-volt range. Its volcanoes pump out sulfur dioxide; its magnetic field breaks down a percentage of that into sulfur and oxygen ions; and these ions are pumped into the hole punched in the magnetosphere, creating a rotating field commonly called the Io torus. What does this sound like? Torus. Flux tube. Magnetosphere. Volcanoes. Sulfur ions. Molten ocean. Tidal heating. Circular orbit. What does this sound like?” Against her will, Martha had found herself first listening, then intrigued, and finally involved. It was like a riddle or a word-puzzle. There was a right answer to the question. Burton or Hols would have gotten it immediately. Martha had to think it through. There was the faint hum of the radio’s carrier beam. A patient, waiting noise. At last, she cautiously said, “It sounds like a machine.
Michael Swanwick (Tales of Old Earth)
At times the discourse of the anthropic philosophers sounded as if they thought the world was made for us rather than the other way around. Planet Earth is at exactly the right distance from the sun to create the right temperature for human life, and its atmosphere has the ideal oxygen level. How convenient! Instead of seeing purpose in this situation, however, any biologist will turn the causal connection around and note that our species is finely adapted to the planet’s circumstances, which explains why they are perfect for us. Deep ocean vents are an optimal environment for bacteria thriving on their superhot sulfuric output, but no one assumes that these vents were created to serve thermophile bacteria; rather, we understand that natural selection has shaped bacteria able to live near them.
Frans de Waal (Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?)
It’s a little bit of rock that reminds us where we came from,” said Russell. If it is true, the iron-sulfur world theory suggests that life not only could have started in hydrothermal vents but that it had to have started there.
James Nestor (Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves)