Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Volcanoes of the Deep
The deep sea was long considered a barren place, devoid of sunlight and inhospitable to life. Now, scientists are witnessing how deep sea volcanoes can support oases of astounding creatures. These oases hold clues to how life might exist elsewhere in the universe, and to how life itself may have begun on Earth. At the heart of these systems lie "black smoker" chimneys, towering structures which spew acidic and scalding water heated by volcanoes beneath the ocean floor. These seemingly hostile environments are teeming with exotic life.