Spacer
News
News > Deep-Sea Vents Discovery

Deep-Sea Vents Discovery

  15/02/2011
Scientists aboard the Royal Research Ship James Cook have discovered a new set of deep-sea volcanic vents in the chilly waters of the Southern Ocean. The discovery is the fourth made by the research team in three years, which suggests that deep-sea vents may be more common in our oceans than previously thought.


 The newly discovered vents

Using an underwater camera system, the researchers saw slender mineral spires three metres tall, with shimmering hot water gushing from their peaks, and gossamer-like white mats of bacteria coating their sides. The vents are at a depth of 520 metres in a newly-discovered seafloor crater close to the South Sandwich Islands, a remote group of islands around 500 kilometres south-east of South Georgia.

"When we caught the first glimpse of the vents, the excitement was almost overwhelming," says Leigh Marsh, a University of Southampton PhD student who was on scientific watch at the time of the discovery.

 

Deep-sea vents are hot springs on the seafloor, where mineral-rich water nourishes lush colonies of microbes and deep-sea animals. In the three decades since scientists first encountered vents in the Pacific, around 250 have been discovered worldwide. Most have been found on a chain of undersea volcanoes called the mid-ocean ridge, however, and very few are known in the Antarctic.

 

"We're finding deep-sea vents more rapidly than ever before," says expedition leader Professor Paul Tyler of the University of Southampton’s School of Ocean and Earth Science, which is based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. “And we're finding some in places other than at mid-ocean ridges, where most have been seen before."

 

By studying the new vents, the team hope to understand more about the distribution and evolution of life in the deep ocean, the role that deep-sea vents play in controlling the chemistry of the oceans, and the diversity of microbes that thrive in different conditions beneath the waves.

 

The researchers were exploring ‘Adventure Caldera’, a crater-like hole in the seafloor three kilometres across and 750 metres deep at its deepest point. Despite its size, Adventure Caldera was only discovered last year by geophysicists from the British Antarctic Survey.

 

The new vents are the fourth set to be discovered around Antarctica in three expeditions since 2009. Their discovery is part of a project funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which involves researchers from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, the Universities of Southampton, Newcastle, Oxford, Bristol and Leeds, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US.

 

The current expedition is scheduled to end in Punta Arenas, Chile, on 22 February, and the team are posting regular updates and answering questions from school pupils.

 





comments powered by Disqus
Read more about:
 Current  waves  Environment 

Website: http://www.thesearethevoyages.net
Supplier: National Oceanography Centre Southampton

More news from this supplier:
NOC Open for Business at Ocean Business
Ocean Current Monitoring Reveals Secrets of Changing UK Winters
Turbulence beneath Arctic Ice Investigated
Ocean Surface Slope Lowers Sea Level in Europe
Key Role for NOC in Major European Marine Science Project
NOC to Improve UK Flood Warning System
National Oceanography Centre Confirm Order for ASV C-Enduro
NOCS Displays Robot Ocean Craft
Transnational Access to Ocean Observatories
Predicting Drift of Floating Pumice Can Benefit Shipping


Valeport-in-action Photo and Video Competition
Coastal Mapping Technology at Coastal GeoTools 2015
Deep-sea Sonar System for Fraunhofer
New SonarWiz Version to be Presented at Ocean Business
Kongsberg Maritime Acquires Contros Systems & Solutions
Osiris Projects Rebrands as Bibby HydroMap
Fugro Opens New Office In Ghana
IMCA’S Technical Team Spreads Message
Horizon 2020 Programme to Develop Underwater Mining System
ASV Wins Maritime Autonomy R&D Funding
Search on Geo-matching.com
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Teledyne BlueView 3D Scanning Sonar in Use for Inspections

Teledyne BlueView 3D scanning sonar is used in infrastructure inspection such as post scour remediation inspection. Infrastructure managers verify construction was completed to contract specifications and for pre-construction inspection to assist with project planning.

 

 

 

Spacer
Last 3 items:
Spacer
Last Comments
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer