Explore the Deep Sea
Expedition 3: From Rocks to Life
The researchers studied the rocks and the hot fluids they emit, as well as the distribution of microbes and animals around the underwater geysers, or vents, from which hot fluids issue. The expedition had several aims:
- Map how living creatures are distributed on the seafloor and within the water column in relation to vents—identifying where they occur in relation to characteristics of the seawater (such as temperature and chemical composition) and landscape features (such as sulfide chimneys). Special attention is being paid to microbes, some of which may be extremely tolerant of the very high-temperature environments around vents.
- Study the chemistry of fluids being emitted from vents
- Study the structure and chemical make-up of rocks near the vents, including structures formed from minerals precipitating out of vent fluid.
Detailed seafloor studies
This expedition is the first in the series to conduct in-depth studies of the seafloor in this area using remotely-operated submarine vehicles, such as Jason II. In particular, the sides of some 3D structures on the seafloor, such as sulfide chimneys, are being examined in detail, thanks to the photos taken by Jason.