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Vol. 42, No. 1, April 2000

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Ocean Observatories

Continuous Access to the Depths, New Heights of Earth Knowledge
To fully understand the causes and effects of events such as El Niño, and new ecosystems such as hydrothermal vents, we need a much better grasp of Earth’s complex, dynamic processes before, as, and after they occur. It will require a coordinated investment in a new mode of marine geoscience investigations: the establishment of long-term ocean observatories. Such observatories offer an essential means to observe interrelated processes over time and to fill in the rather extensive gaps in remote ocean regions where data on deep Earth structures and properties have never been collected.