Evidence of hydrothermal mineral deposits were first noticed in 1948 during the Swedish Albatross oceanographic expedition in the Red Sea. This was followed by discoveries of metalliferous muds and brines in 1963-66 in the Red sea Rift system. These metalliferous muds contained large amounts of copper, zinc, lead, iron, silver and gold. These discoveries led to other similar searches for the same resources in other parts of the world oceans resulting in the discovery of several hydrothermal sites along the East Pacific Rise System, Galapagos Ridge, the Juan de Fuca and Gorda Ridges in the 70’s.
The Galapagos Rift was found to contain inactive mounds containing ore grade metals, some of them up to 35 m high chimneys. Sophisticated instrumentation like submersibles have led to several other discoveries since the Galapagos Rift discovery in 1981.