Abundant and unexpected life discovered in caves beneath hydrothermal vents

Abundant and unexpected life discovered in caves beneath hydrothermal vents

More than two kilometers below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, biologists have discovered that small underwater volcanoes harbor life. Under the magmatic conduit that warms the cold waters of the abyss, animal species have created a real ecosystem to be able to thrive there.

Marine biologists regularly make surprising discoveries in the depths of the oceans. But over the past few weeks, an international team of scientists associatedassociated AU Schmidt Ocean Institute Was able to see signs of life near the underwater volcanic source. A real first, the details of which are given in a press release published on 8 August. use a small RobotRobotresearchers discovered landland The oceanic part of the eastern Pacific ridge, which extends to the west coast of America.

magmatic conduit, several hundred meters below the surface

Off the coast of Panama, the marine science vessel RV Falkor passes through the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Onboard, French, German, American and Austrian marine biologists coordinate the efforts of the remotely operated vehicle Sebastian, capable of diving to a depth of 4,500 meters. The latter worked for thirty days to bring back the volcanic rocks of the hydrothermal mountains. situated on the two ends of the sea tectonic platestectonic platesDiscovered in 1977, these magmatic tubes empty HeatHeat Emitted from within the Earth’s crust.

At these depths, the water temperature does not exceed 2°C. cold fluid moves into the duct and meets MagmaMagmaIt becomes red hot when heated to a temperature above 1,200°C. There ExpressionExpression Produces an effect similar to a geyser, which ejects fluid from a hydrothermal vent. Then the heat around these sources is about 25°C. In the last 45 years, scientists have made an in-depth study of the environment around them. chimneyschimneys While digging underwater but under a hydrothermal vent, Subastian robot discovers and photographs the real thing the wildlifethe wildlife Beneath the stack of the East Pacific Ridge.

In the heart of aquatic life, 2,500 meters below the surface

The warm water around hydrothermal vents attracts many types of animals: insects, sea snails as well as many types of microbes such as bacteria. One of the most represented species in these environments is the giant tubeworm. Many tens of centimeters long, tube worms form a veritable “community” beneath the ocean floor, taking advantage of hydrothermal vents to dig actual tunnels. In a few years, the worms can take root and create a true ecosystem conducive to their growth. However, biologists have not been able to determine whether larvalarva Can move through ducts.

search Schmidt Ocean Institute It is a demonstration that life always find a way “Even at a depth of 2,500 meters. Remember that at the moment, only 5% of the oceans have been explored… There is no doubt that new underwater expeditions will teach us much more about the characteristics of species and ecosystems hundreds of meters below the ocean floor.


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