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Super-cutting-edge Grand and Advanced Research (SUGAR) Program



Proving the occurrence of electrical current generation across the Black Smoker Chimney

The SUGAR Program has worked in collaboration with Prof. Kazuhito Hashimotofs group of Tokyo University, and carried out an electrochemical analysis with the sample collected from the chimney from the deep sea hydrothermal vent. From this experiment, it made clear of the chimney composed by Black Smoker, made of sulfide minerals possessing a high electrical conductivity. In addition, the presence of electrical current across the wall of the Chimneys was proved. This electrical current occurs due to the chemical reactions similar to the battery between inside and outside of the Chimney in natural environment. These experimental results are the world-first proof of the Earthfs internal energy being converted into electrical energy, when released at the seafloor. This gHydrothermal Chimney Battery phenomenonh will surely explain more about the origin- of-life mechanisms, as well as deep sea biological activity and material circulation.

Nakamura, R., Takashima, T., Kato, S., Takai, K., Yamamoto, M., & Hashimoto, K. (2010) Electrical Current Generation across a Black Smoker Chimney. Angew.Chem.Int.Ed, 122:7858-7860

(Fig. Left) A piece of Black Smoker Chimney used in experiment (Labels; Left: Chimneyfs outer surface, Right: inner surface, Bottom: cross section)
(Fig. Top right) An enlarged photo of Chimneyfs inner wall (scanning electron microscopy)
(Fig. Bottom right) A concept diagram of the Chimneyfs cross electrical current