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Deep Ocean Exploration Institute

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Chimney-like structures called black smokers emit superheated water full of minerals from the seafloor. First discovered in 1979 in the eastern Pacific, they have since been found around the world, some with temperatures of more than 400°C (752°F). (Image from DSV Alvin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Unlocking Planetary Processes On and Within the Seafloor

Through research themes focused on deep ocean technology, dynamic processes at the seafloor and the role of the deep Earth and ocean in elemental cycles— the Deep Ocean Exploration Institute (DOEI) seeks to understand how Earth works by promoting interdisciplinary investigations of planetary processes occurring in the deep ocean and within the planet’s interior.

Many keys to unlocking Earth processes can be found deep under the ocean, on and within the seafloor that covers two-thirds of our planet’s surface. The goals of the Deep Ocean Exploration Institute are to investigate these key planetary processes. They include understanding the flow of both magma and water within the planet; the nature and evolution of biological communities in the deep ocean and Earth’s crust; and the characteristics of planetary processes that shape Earth. We also support the development of undersea technology and the establishment of seafloor observatories in various settings.

Featured Multimedia

Underwater Volcanoes
slideshowVIDEO

Hydrothermal Vents

What they are and why they are important.

creating a new ocean crust
slideshowVIDEO

Creating New Ocean Crust

Different volcanic and geological processes form different types of seafloor crust.