Pacific Ocean: Discovery of Pescadero Basin Vents

The deep sea is a relatively unknown world filled with wonders and jaw-dropping discoveries. This latest discovery in a recently discovered seafloor, fits that description entirely.

A “hot spring” was discovered along the seafloor of the Pacific Ocean, and scientists claim it is vastly different than the common hydrothermal vents. Dave Clague a Marine geologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in California verifies that this “hot spring” is different in more than one way.

WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE

The chimneys of the newly-named Pescadero Basin vents have spirals that appear to be white as now, but they are formed from calcium carbonate or limestone. The water surrounding these “chimneys” are 500 degrees Fahrenheit (about 260 degrees Celsius). They are “laden with methane and petroleum-type products that give off a whiff of diesel fuel,” said National Geographic.

WHERE IT IS PESCADERO BASIN LOCATED

The location is another strange feature about these vents. They lie 100 miles off the coast of eastern Mexico, near La Paz. The Pescadero Basin vents are 12,5000 feet below the surface of the ocean and deep into the seafloor. This makes them the deepest high-temperature vents known to reside in the Pacific Ocean.

Furthermore, the area surrounding the vents is comprised of mud made up of the ocean floor. This is a surprising factor because most vents have no sediment, and they are further off the coast with no land on the nearby seafloor.

ANY ANIMALS?

The species surrounding the Pescadero Basin vents are another element of surprise for scientists. The common tubeworms, called Riftias are scarce around the Pescadero Basin vents. “In fact,” Clague said, “the animal community inhabiting the new vent field seems to be a mix of things found around hydrothermal vents and cold seeps.”

MBARI biologist are currently researching and studying the seafloor around the Pescadero Basin vents. They are also studying the vents themselves, but the research will take years to complete. For a basin this large things can get expensive, and with such an expansive amount of space, there are constantly new species and areas to discover.

In the past finding these vents have proved very difficult, but in the case of the Pescadero Basin vents, technology has proven a reliable and timely tool. Scientists, like Clague, are hoping that they will be able to research and find more vents than ever before, and the Pescadero Basin vents are the very first step!

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