Jul 23, 2019 | Updated: 09:13 AM EDT

Deep Ocean Voyage Found The Evidence Of Hydrothermal Vent At The Bottom Of The Pacific Ocean

Mar 15, 2017 06:40 PM EDT

Pescadero Basin: Deepest hydrothermal vents in the Gulf of California
(Photo : Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)/Youtube) During a recent expedition to the Gulf of California scientists from MBARI discovered a new field of hydrothermal vents, the deepest yet discovered in the Gulf of California. These new hydrothermal vent fields were found over thirty-eight hundred meters below the surface in the Pescadero Basin, located off the east coast of Mexico’s Baja California, about one hundred miles east of La Paz. These hydrothermal vents result from a unique combination of geology and chemistry. Using a remotely operated vehicle, researchers found towering white columns emitting geysers of clear shimmering liquid with temperatures up to 290 degrees Celsius. The superheated water flowing from these vents starts deep underground. As the hot water rises, it flows through and reacts with the surrounding bedrock, becoming saturated with carbonate minerals, which build up over time to form the large chimneys that were observed.

Researchers found five completely new hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the Pacific ocean. The environment is as hot as 370° celsius and the water flows upward through the vent chimney. The water reaches up to 22 meters high but that region is still habitable for some snails, Pompeii worms, shrimp, crabs and some fish species.

Two professors of geology and geophysics, Barbara John and her husband Michael Cheadle from University of Wyoming(UW) led two submarine voyage to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to explore the sea floor. At Pito Seamount in the Pacific Ocean, they have located five previously unknown active hydrothermal vents. In the journal of Journey To The Pito Deep, they have mentioned they have also discovered two other vents that were last seen 23 years ago.

This expedition was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the team also include Professor Jeff Gee from Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California-San Diego and four UW students. Lead researcher Michael Cheadle said in his report,“The big surprise is the animals that live down there. There's no light. It's totally dark”.

According to Phys, chemosynthetic bacteria are the main diet source of the animal community. By using the process chemosynthesis, Bacteria colonies turn toxic hydrogen sulfide to organic materials. Cheadle explained that undersea hydrothermal vent was truly undiscovered until 1977 since then over 300 vents have been found.

All of the newly discovered vents were found roughly 2.3 kilometers or 7,500 feet below the sea surface. Since 1977, over 750 species of animals have been discovered. Researchers want to analyze their DNA to find out their origin and evolutionary history.

Those vents are also known as “black smokers” as they emit cloudy Sulphur particles in a form of smoke. Researchers also found the sign of Zinc, Copper, Iron and fewer amount of Gold. Barbara John and her team named those vents as, Jason, Medea, Scotty's Castle, The Sniper to add some more fun to the discovery. Scientists also collected rock samples from 6 kilometers deep below the ocean's surface to create a detailed geologic map of the gabbroic crust.

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