First footage from world’s deepest volcanic vents

Posted: April 13, 2010 in Uncategorized
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At this depth, the spewing water is hot enough to melt lead, and the pressure it exerts means that every square centimetre has to withstand the weight of five hefty men.

“It was like wandering across the surface of another world,” says Bramley Murton, a geologist at the National Oceanographic Centre (NOC) in Southampton, UK, who piloted the Hy-Bis underwater vehicle around these deep volcanic vents and filmed them for the first time.

“The rainbow hues of the mineral spires and the fluorescent blues of the microbial mats covering them were like nothing I had ever seen before,” Murton says.

These are the first images to be beamed back from the depths of the Cayman trough, the world’s deepest undersea volcanic rift, which runs across the floor of the Caribbean.

An international collaboration of researchers that goes by the name InterRidge is currently exploring the rift with submersible vehicles. They team will stay in the area until 21 April. A second expedition to the Cayman trough is planned for the near future.

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