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swirly white material at top of halocline on a DHAB in the Mediterranean, shot by ROV Jason

Clouds at the Bottom of the Sea

A photo taken by a camera on the remotely operated vehicle Jason reveals the weird, murky world of Urania Basin, an anoxic, super-salty "lake" 3.5 kilometers deep in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. In late 2011, scientists from WHOI led a Dive and Discover expedition to sample the eukaryotic microbes living in the water and sediments of the brine lake. In this image, Jason is near the transition zone between normal seawater above and the heavy brine below. Scientists think the swirly white material indicates the top of the transition zone. The two red lasers shining from the front of Jason are 10 cm apart and help researchers estimate the size of objects seen through the camera. (Photo courtesy of ROV Jason team, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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