While exploring hydrothermal vent and cold seep environments, Dr. Mandy Joye and her interdisciplinary research team were witness to amazing geological, chemical and biological discoveries. From large venting mineral towers with volcanic flanges holding pools of superheated (366ºC) hydrothermal fluids, to areas teeming with biodiversity and potentially novel fauna, this expedition has been full of amazing sights.
“We discovered remarkable towers where every surface was occupied by some type of life. The vibrant colors found on the ‘living rocks’ was striking, and reflects a diversity in biological composition as well as mineral distributions,” said Dr. Joye. “This is an amazing natural laboratory to document incredible organisms and better understand how they survive in extremely challenging environments. Unfortunately, even in these remote and beautiful environments we saw copious amounts of trash including fishing nets, deflated Mylar balloons, and even a discarded Christmas trees. This provided a stark juxtaposition next to the spectacular mineral structures and biodiversity.”
Check out the expedition’s wrap up video for a look back into this unprecedented study of hydrothermal and gas plumes, with researchers using advanced technology including 4K deep-sea underwater cameras, cutting-edge sediment and fluid samplers, radiation tracking devices and more.