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Shimmering water reveals cold volcanic vent in Antarctic waters
Date:2/6/2013

evidence of hydrothermal fluid seeping through the sediment."

So why were there no strange creatures around the vent? The team investigated this particular area of the deep-sea because prior measurements of the water column above Hook Ridge detected chemical changes consistent with a hydrothermal plume. On investigation, there was also a small relict "chimney" of precipitated minerals on the seafloor, which suggests that the hydrothermal fluid flowing from the vent was once warmer.

The researchers therefore propose that hydrothermal activity at Hook Ridge is too irregular to provide the vital chemicals that support chemosynthetic life.

Dr Aquilina explained why this was an important finding: "This region was investigated because hydrothermal systems in this part of the Southern Ocean may potentially act as stepping stones for genetic material migrating between separate areas in the world ocean," he said.

"The more hydrothermal vents we can find and investigate, the more we can understand about the evolution and dispersal of the creatures that live off the chemicals expelled in these dark, deep environments."


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Contact: Catherine Beswick
catherine.beswick@noc.ac.uk
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK)
Source:Eurekalert  

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