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Seafloor life

Seafloor Life

This patch of clams, bacteria, and tubeworms was photographed on the ocean bottom in the Gulf of California, where two of Earth’s tectonic plates are moving apart, further separating the Baja Peninsula from mainland Mexico. The image was one of about 15,000 transmitted in 48 hours from the seafloor to the research vessel Atlantis via a Synchronous Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL) Data-Link telemetry system developed by WHOI engineer Marshall Swartz. The 2008 cruise, led by WHOI volcanologist Adam Soule and geophysicist Dan Lizarralde, found numerous such biological communities, whose bacteria are fed by methane and other gases generated as scorching hot magma pushes up toward the seafloor. (Photo courtesy of Dan Lizarralde, Adam Soule, and Jeff Seewald, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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