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News of the Day: Fool's Gold Fertilizes Ocean

2 minutes

(Describer) In sepia tones, under a round logo of a wave, title: Ocean Today.

(Describer) In an animation, a spinning newspaper has the title "Ocean Today News."

['20s style jazz playing]

(male announcer) It's your news of the day. Bringing some of the latest ocean headlines from around the world.

(Describer) One headline: Fool's Gold Fertilizes Ocean!

There's gold in the ocean. Not so fast, fellow prospector. This is actually fool's gold, or iron pyrite, and while it can't line our pockets, this mineral can help support life in the ocean. Scientists have been studying how bacteria and small ocean plants get the iron they need for energy and growth. Apparently, steak dinners are hard to come by. Well, new research points to sources on the seafloor-- hydrothermal vents and volcanoes. Scientists already knew the vents' cloudy plumes spewed iron pyrite particles, but thought they were solids that settled back on the ocean floor. Not so! The new findings show vents emitting tons of microscopic pyrite particles that are so small, they get dispersed into the ocean instead. These teeny pyrite particles can travel a long distance away from their original source, releasing iron along the way. Thus, this fool's gold acts as a fertilizer for life in the deep sea, providing a helpful vitamin to bacteria and small plants.

(Describer) Title: Eat Your Vitamins!

As a healthy ocean and healthy atmosphere depend on the growth of these organisms, one might say this discovery is worth its weight in gold. And that's your news of the day.

(Describer) Logos are shown for the Smithsonian and NOAA. Accessibility provided by the US Department of Education.

Accessibility provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

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There’s fool's gold in the ocean, and this mineral helps support life in the ocean. Scientists have been studying how bacteria and small plants in the ocean get the iron they need for energy and growth. Well, new research points to mineral sources on the seafloor. Part of the "News of the Day" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 2 minutes

News of the Day
Episode 1
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
News of the Day
Episode 2
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
News of the Day
Episode 3
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
News of the Day
Episode 4
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
News of the Day
Episode 5
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
News of the Day
Episode 6
2 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12