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Re: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

Jonathon Woolf wrote:

> > These bacteria, tube worms etc. on the ocean bottom are powered by heat 
> > from the earth ?
> > Great, but please tell me, how exactly does this work ? 
> The deep-sea vent ecosystems are a recent discovery, and biologists are
> still figuring out the details about how they work.  The basics are
> pretty clear, though.  Each such ecosystem forms around a volcanic
> mineral-water spring in the ocean floor.  The springs eject mineral-rich
> water at extremely high temperature.  Thermophilic bacteria take in
> sulfur and other minerals, and use them to grow through a process called
> chemosynthesis -- chemical synthesis of food-energy.  Then those
> bacteria become the base of the local food chain.    

So the source of energy for these ecosystems is in fact chemical energy 
stored in minerals like sulfur etc. which can be used for chemical 
reactions, comparable to the chemical energy in coal which we 
use ? And the heat is just driving the springs ? Or does the heat 
itself contribute to the energy which the bacteria need ?
Martin Jehle, Dipl.-Ing.(FH)
Regensburg, Germany