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Vol. 42, No. 2, Apr. 2004

Deep Ocean Exploration

Deep Ocean Exploration

Investigating Earth's dynamic processes
The ongoing, fundamental forces that forge our planet—that generate earthquakes and volcanoes; that perpetually create and destroy Earth's crust; that rip apart continents and smash them into one another; that create mountains like the Himalayas and island chains like Hawaii; that open and close ocean basins; that forge mineral deposits and generate oil and gas; and that brew chemical cauldrons that sustain rich communities of life in the sunless depths—most of this action occurs beneath the oceans.

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Introduction

Motion in the Mantle

 The Engine that Drives Earth

The Engine that Drives Earth

Peering into the mantle to reveal the inner working of our planet

 Conduits Into Earth's Inaccessible Interior

Conduits Into Earth's Inaccessible Interior

Hot plumes surfacing from deep within the planet bring up telltale chemical clues about the mantle.

 If Rocks Could Talk...

If Rocks Could Talk...

The ion microprobe extracts hidden clues about our planet's history and evolution

Listening Closely to see into the earth

Listening Closely to 'See' Into the Earth

A new national facility of cutting-edge seafloor seismographs probes Earth's interior

Emerging Ocean Technology

Realizing the Dreams of da Vinci and Verne

Realizing the Dreams of da Vinci and Verne

A diverse fleet of innovative deep-submergence vehicles heralds a new era of ocean exploration

 Unique Vehicles for a Unique Environment

Unique Vehicles for a Unique Environment

New autonomous robots will pierce an ice-covered ocean and explore the Arctic abyss

Seeding the Seafloor with Observatories

Seeding the Seafloor with Observatories

Scientists extend their reach into the deep with pioneering undersea cable networks

 A Sea Change in Ocean Drilling

A Sea Change in Ocean Drilling

Scientists launch a new drill ship and ambitious research plans

Creating the Seafloor

Complex Complexion

Earth's Complex Complexion

Expeditions to remote oceans expose new variations in ocean crust

Unraveling the Tapestry of Ocean Crust

Unraveling the Tapestry of Ocean Crust

Scientists follow a trail of clues to reveal the magmatic trickles and bursts that create the seafloor

Paving the Seafloor

Paving the Seafloor—Brick by Brick

New vehicles and magnetic techniques reveal details of seafloor lava flows

Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Earthshaking Events

Earthshaking Events

New research on land and sea reinvigorates hopes of forecasting where earthquakes are likely to occur

Ears in the Ocean

Ears in the Ocean

Hydrophones reveal a whole lot of previously undetected seafloor shaking going on

Peering into the Crystal Fabric of Rocks

Peering into the Crystal Fabric of Rocks

When you get right down to it, earthquakes and volcanoes have atomic-scale causes

Earth-Ocean Interactions

The Remarkable Diversity of Seafloor Vents

The Remarkable Diversity of Seafloor Vents

Explorations reveal an increasing variety of hydrothermal vents

 When Seafloor Meets Ocean, the Chemistry Is Amazing

When Seafloor Meets Ocean, the Chemistry Is Amazing

In more and more places, scientists are finding large amounts of natural gas on the ocean bottom

Life on Earth

Is Life Thriving Deep Beneath

Is Life Thriving Deep Beneath the Seafloor?

Recent discoveries hint at a potentially huge and diverse subsurface biosphere

 The Evolutionary Puzzle of Seafloor Life

The Evolutionary Puzzle of Seafloor Life

Scientists are assembling critical pieces to reconstruct the history of life on the ocean floor

Living Large in Microscopic Nooks

Living Large in Microscopic Nooks

Newly discovered deep-sea microbes rearrange thinking on the evolution of the Earth? and life on it

Shifting Continents and Climate

Moving Earth and Heaven

Moving Earth and Heaven

Colliding continents, the rise of the Himalayas, and the birth of the monsoons

How the Isthmus of Panama Put Ice in the Arctic

How the Isthmus of Panama Put Ice in the Arctic

Drifting continents open and close gateways between oceans and shift Earth's climate

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is the world's leading non-profit oceanographic research organization. Our mission is to explore and understand the ocean and to educate scientists, students, decision-makers, and the public.
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