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Images: A Hunt for Unusual Seafloor Animals and Vents

An expedition found the first evidence for seafloor hydrothermal vents on the Mid-Cayman Rise, an undersea ridge deep in the Caribbean Sea at the tectonic boundary where the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate are spreading apart. (Map courtesy of NOAA)

In rising seas in the Caribbean Sea, the ship's crew recovers the robotic vehicle Nereus from an exploration dive to the seafloor. (Photo courtesy of Chris German, WHOI)

Chief scientist Chris German, far left, Ko-ichi Nakamura, Dana Yoerger, and Louis Whitcomb look at data from Nereus, freshly downloaded from the vehicle, indicating that the team is on the trail of a high-temperature “black smoker” vent. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)