WHOI scientists Christopher German (left), Jian Lin (center), and Dana Yoerger stand in
front of the ABE autonomous underwater vehicle on the deck of the Chinese
research vessel Dayang 1
in March 2007.
Working with colleagues from the China Ocean Mineral Resources R&D
Association (COMRA), the WHOI team deployed ABE to help find seafloor
hydrothermal vents on a mid-ocean ridge that, until
now, remained elusive. Scientists initially thought ultraslow-spreading
ridgessuch as the Southwest Indian Ridge, where the new discovery was
madewould be too cold to host large hot vents. But in the past
decade, some scientists began to hypothesize that the slower a ridge
spreads, the fewer vents it would havebut the bigger the vent fields
would be. “This cruise confirmed that hypothesis,” said Lin.
(Photo courtesy of InterRidge Program)