Diving the deepest vents

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 14:04

The deepest known hydrothermal vents in the world are along the Mid-Cayman Spreading Center, and I have been sent along with a team of Japanese and British researchers to collect samples at this unusual site. Water temperatures have been measured over 400 °C, making these also the hottest known vents.

As a geomicrobiologist, my job is to collect rock and chimney samples and investigate the Bacterial and Archaeal communities that live in them. The hospitality and cooking of the Japanese crew are both incredible, but my real treat will come next week: a chance to see these vents up-close on a dive in the Shinkai 6500 submersible!