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Seafloor Surprises

Before the discovery of hydrothermal vents in 1977 by scientists aboard the Alvin submersible, the deep sea was thought to be devoid of life because of the lack of sunlight. Much to their surprise, the scientists found that the vents and surrounding seafloor were teeming with unusual life, which was sustained by chemicals issuing from the vents. During an international expedition in 2012 to explore vents on the Caribbean seafloor (pictured above), scientists discovered new species of vent shrimp and more clues about how life at vents adapts to live in hostile hydrothermal conditions. (Photo by Chris German and the Jason Group, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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