Deep sea ‘gold rush’ moves closer to reality

Exploiting precious metals on the ocean floor is an idea that has been considered for decades.

A deep sea “gold rush” is a controversial new frontier for mining the ocean floor and it has moved a step closer to reality.  The United Nations has published its first plan for managing the extraction of so-called “nodules” – small mineral-rich rocks – from the seabed.

 

 

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New Deep-Sea Life Forms in the Atlantic Ocean

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Purple-winged enteropneust. Photo: David Shale

Scientists first thought that the deep valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a massive undersea mountain in the Atlantic Ocean, was too harsh a climate for life. But when they explored the region down to the depths of 12,000 feet, they discovered a myriad of intriguing species, including this strange purple worm:

Blind, purple, and peculiar, this primitive, deep-sea life-form may be akin to the common ancestor of humans and all other backboned animals, according to scientists.’

One of three new species of enteropneust acorn worm discovered during the mid-Atlantic survey, the creature has no eyes, no obvious sense organs, and no brain. “This is about as primitive as you can go,” team member Monty Priede said.

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First Ever Images Of Deep-Sea Volcanic Eruption

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Blast: A plume of sulphur and molten lava erupts from the West Mata Volcano
nearly 4,000 feet beneath the Pacific Ocean, south of Samoa
Scientists have witnessed the eruption of a deep-sea volcano for the first time ever, capturing on video the fiery bubbles of molten lava as they exploded 4,000 feet beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

Researchers are calling it a major geological discovery after a submersible robot witnessed the eruption during an underwater expedition in May near Samoa.

The high-definition videos were revealed last week at a geophysics conference in San Francisco.

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Robot Moves Across Sea Floor Monitoring Impact Of Climate Change On The Deep Sea

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The Benthic Rover

Like the robotic rovers Spirit and Opportunity, which wheeled tirelessly across the dusty surface of Mars, a new robot spent most of July traveling across the muddy ocean bottom, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) off the California coast. This robot, the Benthic Rover, has been providing scientists with an entirely new view of life on the deep seafloor. It will also give scientists a way to document the effects of climate change on the deep sea. The Rover is the result of four years of hard work by a team of engineers and scientists led by MBARI project engineer Alana Sherman and marine biologist Ken Smith.

 

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