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A British scientific expedition says it has discovered the world's deepest known underwater volcanic vent off the Cayman Islands.
Experts aboard the RRS James Cook say they found the vent 5km beneath the surface of the Caribbean in an area known as the Cayman Trough, a gap in the ocean's bottom that served as the setting for James Cameron's underwater thriller "The Abyss."
They discovered slender spires made of copper and iron ores.
The water being pumped out from of the so-called "black smokers" is hot enough to melt lead.
The area is almost half a mile deeper than has ever been seen before and, with extremely high water pressure, it is tantamount to a "hell on Earth".
The Cayman Trough is the world's deepest undersea volcanic rift, running across the seafloor of the Caribbean. The pressure three miles deep at the bottom of the Trough - 500 times normal atmospheric pressure - is equivalent to the weight of a large family car pushing down on every square inch of the creatures that live there, and on the undersea vehicles that the scientists used to reveal this extreme environment. The researchers will now compare the marine life in the abyss of the Cayman Trough with that known from other deep-sea vents, to understand the web of life throughout the deep ocean. The team will also study the chemistry of the hot water gushing from the vents, and the geology of the undersea volcanoes where these vents are found, to understand the fundamental geological and geochemical processes that shape our world.
Originally posted by cwt8466
Does anyone know the percentage of the Earth's oceans that are unexplored? I can only imagine what sort of craziness we will find down there.