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Home to an immense diversity of marine life, the deep ocean also contains valuable minerals with metals such as nickel, copper, cobalt, manganese, zinc, and gold, and rare-earth elements used in electronic technology like smart phones and medical imaging machines. As demand for these resources increases and supplies on land decrease, commercial mining operators are looking to the deep ocean as the next frontier for mining.
The waters off Greece’s Santorini are the site of newly discovered opalescent pools forming at 250 meters depth. The interconnected series of meandering, iridescent white pools contain high concentrations of CO2 and may hold answers to questions related to deepsea carbon storage as well as provide a means of monitoring the volcano for future eruptions.
A new study is the first to show that methane formation does not occur during the relatively quick fluid circulation process.
A new study led by scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) points to the deep ocean as a major source of dissolved iron in the central Pacific Ocean.
Scientists have discovered a vast plume of iron and other micronutrients more than 1,000 km wide billowing from hydrothermal vents in the South Atlantic Ocean. The finding, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, calls past estimates of iron abundances into question, and may challenge researchers’ assumptions about iron sources in the world’s seas.
Working in a rare, “natural seafloor laboratory” of hydrothermal vents that had just been rocked by a volcanic eruption, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and other institutions have discovered what they believe is an undersea superhighway carrying tiny life forms unprecedented distances to inhabit the post-eruption site.
The cycling of iron throughout the oceans has been an area of intense research for the last two decades. Oceanographers have spent a lot of time studying what has been affectionately labeled the Geritol effect ever since discovering that the lack of iron is a reason why phytoplankton grow lackadaisically in some of the most nutrient-rich surface waters. Just like humans, sometimes the ocean needs a dose of iron to function more effectively.
Hydrocarbonsmolecules critical to lifeare routinely generated by the simple interaction of seawater with the rocks under the Lost City hydrothermal vent field in the Atlantic Ocean. The production of such building blocks of life makes Lost City-like vents strong contenders as places where life might have originated on Earth, according to research led by the University of Washington and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Researchers will probe the Gakkel Ridge during expedition that begins on July 1.
Scientists have found one of the largest fields of seafloor vents gushing super-hot, mineral-rich fluids on a mid-ocean ridge that, until now, remained elusive to the ten-year hunt to find them.
Scientists have long known that microorganisms can use one of two different methods to convert carbon dioxide into a form that living things can use for energy. What they didn’t know until recently is that at least one form of bacteria can switch between these two “carbon fixation” pathways or use them both at the same timea fundamental discovery for scientists who believe such bacteria played a role in the evolution of life on Earth.
Advances in undersea imaging systems, the development of new vehicles and instruments, and improved seafloor mapping capabilities have enabled scientists to explore areas of the deep sea in unprecedented detail.
In 2002, researchers diving in the submersible Alvin returned to the Galápagos Rift, a mid-ocean ridge about 250 miles from the Galápagos Islands in the eastern Pacific Ocean where hydrothermal vents and exotic organisms were first found in 1977.
Three new deep-sea hydrothermal vent fields were discovered in September 2004 in the Lau Basin in the western Pacific between Tonga, Fiji and Samoa and were geologically and biologically mapped by the Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE), one of WHOI's autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).
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