Scientists have discovered a series of 400,000-year-old asphalt volcanoes about 10 miles off the California coast, at the bottom of the Santa Barbara Channel.
The largest of these undersea Ice Age domes lies at a depth of 700 feet (220 meters), too deep for scuba diving, which explains why the volcanoes have never before been spotted by humans. The discovery is documented this week in Nature Geoscience.
"They're larger than a football-field-long and as tall as a six-story building," says David Valentine, a geoscientist at University of California, Santa Barbara. "They're massive features, and are made completely out of asphalt."
Ocean acidification is a real problem, and unless our weather breaking carbon dioxide emissions are substantially curbed, the ocean will continue to become more acidic, according to a new report by National Research Council.
The long-term consequences of ocean acidification on marine life are unknown, but the problem is apparently serious enough that Hollywood celebrities
need to lobby Congress over the issue.
"My hope, one shared by millions of Americans, is that you, our
legislators, will put aside your differences and enact climate and
The world's water cycle has already intensified and the changes are consistent with predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to new research in the Journal of Climate.
The stronger water cycle means arid regions have become drier and high rainfall regions wetter as atmospheric temperature increases.
The study shows the surface ocean beneath rainfall-dominated regions has freshened, whereas ocean regions dominated by evaporation are saltier. The paper also confirms that surface warming of the world's oceans over the past 50 years has penetrated into the oceans' interior changing deep-ocean salinity patterns.
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.
Supervolcanoes have been blamed for multiple mass extinctions in Earth's history. But despite their global impact, their origin and triggering mechanisms have remained unexplained.
New data obtained during a recent Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) expedition in the Pacific Ocean may help explain the sea floor giants' origins.
In fall 2009, an international team of scientists participating in IODP Expedition 324 drilled five sites in the ocean floor. They studied the origin of the 145 million-year-old Shatsky Rise volcanic mountain chain. Located 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Japan, Shatsky Rise measures roughly the size of California.
Marine ecosystems could be radically altered by ocean acidification resulting from increasing levels of atmospheric CO2, say researchers presenting at the Society for General Microbiology's spring meeting.
As a result of it's impact on fish stocks and erosion of coral reefs, researchers say ocean acidification could also have serious socioeconomic ramifications as well.
The team simulated ocean acidification as predicted by current trends of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and found that the decrease in ocean pH (increased acidity) resulted in a sharp decline of a biogeochemically important group of bacteria known as the Marine Roseobacter clade.
PASADENA, Calif. - New NASA measurements of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, part of the global ocean conveyor belt that helps regulate climate around the North Atlantic, show no significant slowing over the past 15 years. The data suggest the circulation may have even sped up slightly in the recent past.
The findings are the result of a new monitoring technique, developed by oceanographer Josh Willis of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., using measurements from ocean-observing satellites and profiling floats. The findings are reported in the March 25 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.
Satellite measurements of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), part of the global ocean conveyor belt that helps regulate climate around the North Atlantic, show no significant slowing over the past 15 years and suggest that the circulation may have even sped up slightly in the recent past.
The findings are the result of a new monitoring technique, developed by oceanographer Josh Willis of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., using measurements from ocean-observing satellites and profiling floats.
Increased amounts of nitrous oxide (N2O) produced in low-oxygen (hypoxic) waters can elevate concentrations in the atmosphere, further exacerbating the impacts of global warming and contributing to ozone "holes", according to a new article published this week in Science.
"As the volume of hypoxic waters move towards the sea surface and expands along our coasts, their ability to produce the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide increases," explains Dr. Codispoti of the UMCES Horn Point Laboratory. "With low-oxygen waters currently producing about half of the ocean's net nitrous oxide, we could see an additional significant atmospheric increase if these 'dead zones' continue to expand."
Scientists writing this week in Geophysical Research Letters say they have pinpointed six spots on the remote Pacific Antarctic Ridge, 1,000 miles from the west coast of Antarctica, where they think hydrothermal vents are likely to be found.
Two pieces of evidence tipped researchers off to the location of the hidden vents. First, the ocean is stratified with layers of lighter water sitting on top of layers of denser water. Second, when a seafloor vent erupts, it spews gases rich in rare helium-3, an isotope found in earth's mantle and in the magma bubbling below the vent. As helium-3 disperses through the ocean, it mixes into a density layer and stays there, forming a plume that can stretch over thousands of kilometers.