Man Discovers Hydrothermal Vents in the Ocean

( – Our knowledge of life in the ocean and how ecosystems live on the bottom to support large animals started in the seventies. According to Robert Ballard, who helped locate the Titanic, scientists didn’t know that there were large animals at the bottom of the ocean and that the ocean could support larger ecosystems than previously believed.

The first unmanned vehicle sent down to the bottom of the ocean, Angus, which had a camera system and strobe lights, was packed in a steel cage. At the time, scientists were exploring the mid-ocean ridge, which was the longest mountain range on Earth. They were looking for heat vents in the ridge, but they didn’t expect to find diverse life there.

Angus explored the depths for twelve hours taking photos before it resurfaced. When they looked back at the photos, they discovered that about twenty-five hundred feet down the temperature of the water started to get warmer. This is when Angus’ photos showed large clams that were the size of plates and tube worms that were three meters tall.

The discovery of life at this depth was surprising to scientists, and it led them to wonder not only what else could be further down, but also the kind of life that the solar system may hold.

The day after the expedition, three people went down into the ocean and were able to photograph the clams that were seen by Angus. They took the clams to the surface to discover their functioning. After opening the clams, they discovered that they were filled with human-like blood and even looked more beefy than a clam.

The clam had no internal organs and was instead being fed by a bacterium living inside their body. This led to the discovery of hydrogen sulfide in the water, which was creating a hot spring that triggered life.

According to Robert Ballard, this expedition changed the belief that living organisms could only survive within a specific pH and raised questions as to what other kinds of life forms there could be out there…or down there.

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