the world's deepest undersea volcanic vents, known as 'black smokers' have been discovered in the Cayman Trough 3.1 Miles beneath the surface of the Caribbean Sea.
Using a remotely controlled, deep-diving vehicle, scientists uncovered slender spires made of copper and iron ores on the seafloor, erupting water hot enough to melt lead, nearly half a mile deeper than anyone has seen before.
Deep-sea vents are undersea springs where superheated water erupts from the ocean floor. They were first seen in the Pacific three decades ago, but most are found between one and two miles deep.
Scientists are fascinated by deep-sea vents because the scalding water that gushes from them nourishes lush colonies of deep-sea creatures, which has forced scientists to rewrite the rules of biology. Studying the life-forms that thrive in such unlikely havens is providing insights into patterns of marine life around the world, the possibility of life on other planets, and even how life on Earth began.
First photograph of the world's deepest known 'black smoker' vent
(photo credit: NOC)
The Cayman Trough is the world's deepest undersea volcanic rift, running across the seafloor of the Caribbean. The pressure three miles deep at the bottom of the Trough - 500 times normal atmospheric pressure - is equivalent to the weight of a large family car pushing down on every square inch of the creatures that live there, and on the undersea vehicles that the scientists used to reveal this extreme environment.
Robot submarine Autosub6000 used to locate the undersea vents
(photo credit: NOC)
The researchers will now compare the marine life in the abyss of the Cayman Trough with that known from other deep-sea vents, to understand the web of life throughout the deep ocean. The team will also study the chemistry of the hot water gushing from the vents, and the geology of the undersea volcanoes where these vents are found, to understand the fundamental geological and geochemical processes that shape our world.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- How A Former Naturopath Can Help Unravel The Trickery of Alternative Medicine
- Swarm Bots Kill Mass Shooter
- Can A New Rule Trigger A Second EU Referendum? Petition 4 Millon Signatures, Nearly 12% Of Total Votes Cast
- Nanotech: The Most Dangerous Science Least Carefully Done
- A Billion Years Ago, What Did Earth's Ancient Magnetic Field Look Like?
- Finding All-Hadronic Top - Again
- Did Controversy Over Statins Influence Their Use In The UK?
- "New video to add to this article, astronaut Tim Peake spinning at very high speed in the ISS, not..."
- "A scientific approach is the only way one can really be assured that a treatment has merits. The..."
- "Bollocks! You will find the possible side effects listed are a exhaustive precautionary list of..."
- "Sorry, but even using the term allopath shows your bias. That is a term invented by the creator..."
- "Lets make something clear- most of you are arguing past each other on topics that are too broad..."
- Why Some Sounds Make Us Cringe
- Over 100 Nobel Laureates Condemn Greenpeace for Opposing Golden Rice
- New Team Member: Dr. Alex Berezow
- New Investigation Will Examine Breast Cancer Recurrence Post Weight Loss
- DIY Biohacking: Unethical, Fringe and Probably Necessary to Advance Science
- Summer Camp Means Fun for Kids, But Panic for Some Parents
- Rx for better orthopaedic surgeons: Track their errors as well as their skills
- Nutrition labels on dining hall food: Are they being used? By who?
- Research reveals widespread herbicide use on North American wildlands
- Make no mistake, revenge is (bitter)sweet, study confirms
- New method detects telomere length for research into cancer, aging