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UCSB scientists probe sea floor venting to gain understanding of early life on Earth

ential food source for ridge flank biota, and an opportunity for researchers to sample the biosphere below the sea floor."

The sides of abyssal hills are fault escarpments (or scarps) created by vertical uplift of the seafloor during many events of fault slippage that produce frequent earthquakes. The scarps are cliffs that expose and provide access to the subseafloor, without the need for drilling, making it easier to tease out what is living at depth in oceanic crust. The fluids that emerge may come in bursts when earthquakes occur; fluid flow may therefore repeat episodically over hundreds of thousands of years as abyssal hills are uplifted and spread away from the mid-ocean ridge crest.

Haymon compared the subsurface microbes they found to those living in hot springs such as those at Yellowstone National Park.


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Source:University of California - Santa Barbara


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