Special equipment is required to visit these extreme depths, which is why less than 5% of this area has been explored and charted.
In the early 1970s, when Ballard was doing his graduate work in marine geology and geophysics, scientists were still refining the basics of plate tectonics theory.
Alien microbes could be flourishing in the underground seas of Titan and the solar system’s other ocean worlds. “The great thing about hydrothermal vents is that they provide a lot of energy sources for microbial life that doesn’t include sunlight,” says Julie Huber, a marine chemist at WHOI.
WHOI biologist Stace Beaulieu forgets all bodily needs when chasing creatures in her tiny submarine.
“When hydrothermal vents were discovered in 1977, it very much flipped biology on its end,” says Julie Huber, an oceanographer who studies life in and below the seafloor at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) on Cape Cod. “People knew that organisms could live off of chemical energy, but they didn’t imagine they could support animal ecosystems.”
features work from a recent expedition to Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Quotes Frieder Klein
features Chris German’s work and quotes Adam Soule
features Stace Beaulieu and Lauren Mullineaux
mentions Frieder Klein and WHOI
quotes Tim SHank