Lesson 3: Formation Of Underwater Volcanoes (5)

Lesson 3: Underwater Volcano Formation (5)
Hydrothermal Vents and Life

Learning Activities


Project the image of tubeworms and palm worms

Ask: What do you see? What might these be?


These are tubeworms and palm worms, which thrive on the outer walls of the hydrothermal vents within the caldera of Axial Seamount’s.


Each student group will need tape, pipe cleaners, reuse materials (students can bring items in from home) such as cardboard scraps, cardboard tubes, single-use plastics, markers, etc.


  1. Students will visit the Sea Life Gallery found at the Sea Life Image Gallery – OOI Regional Cabled Array.
  2. Students will research one organism from the gallery and then build a three-dimensional model of that organism using the recycled materials that students collect for a few weeks prior to the lesson.
  3. Host a gallery walk that shows their organism and a brief description, written or slideshow, that explains their organism. 

Underwater volcanoes and hydrothermal vents, found along mid-ocean ridges, create unique habitats for some of the world’s most interesting and extreme organisms on Earth. Some worms at vents (called Pompeii worms) survive at temperatures of 175°F! Because of the high pressure at the seafloor (at Axial Seamount they are 150 times what we experience on land), the 175°F fluids are not boiling. These hardy deep-sea animals are able to thrive at high temperatures, bathed in fluids rich in hydrogen sulfide, and they live in complete darkness – extreme conditions  that are hard to imagine.

Check for Understanding (formative assessment)

Have students use the Exit Slip for Underwater Volcano Formation to answer these questions:

  • What is the common name and scientific name of your selected organism?
  • What structures does your organism have that make it possible for your organism to survive and thrive in such extreme conditions?
  • How does your organism get its energy (food)? 


  • Keep a journal for one month of your observations from the live feed video cameras at Axial Seamount. Note any new or unusual observations.


Write a Claim-Evidence-Reason conclusion that answers this question: Why is it important to learn about underwater volcanoes.


Tubeworms and Palm worms
Beautiful tubeworm colony on Inferno
Sulfide worms and palm worms at the summit of El Guapo
Exit slip
Live Camera Feed