04 Jan '12, 12pm

Amid Dark Vents in the Depths, Something Stirs

Amid Dark Vents in the Depths, Something Stirs By RACHEL NUWER NERC ChEsSo Consortium. “Black smokers” in the depths of the frigid Southern Ocean. Chemical-laden water exits the seabed through vents, hitting cold seawater and causing metallic sulfides to precipitate. Around 7,800 feet under the frigid Southern Ocean, the flash of a remotely operated underwater vehicle captured scenes from a distant undersea ecosystem. Slender chimneys belched plumes of boiling black smoke. A closer look at clusters of white pebbles revealed a writhing mass of countless yeti crabs — a new species. A pale, lone octopus skulked on the ocean floor. “To sit in the R.O.V. control van and see these sites which no other human had seen up to that point was tremendously exciting,” said Alex Rogers, a professor of conservation biology at Oxford University. “It’s difficult to convey in words, that awe...

Full article: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/04/amid-dark-vents...

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Amid Dark Vents in the Depths, Something Stirs By RACHEL NUWER NERC ChEsSo Consortium. “Black smokers” in the depths of th...

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