For decades, scientists have theorized that the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates is driven largely by negative buoyancy created as they cool. New research, however, shows plate dynamics are driven significantly by the additional force of heat drawn from the Earth’s core. (more…)
Tag Archives: east pacific rise
One of the greatest mysteries facing humans is how life originated on Earth. Scientists have determined approximately when life began (roughly 3.8 billion years ago), but there is still intense debate about exactly how life began. One possibility has grown in popularity in the last two decades – that simple metabolic reactions emerged near ancient seafloor hot springs, enabling the leap from a non-living to a living world.
Recent research by geochemists Eoghan Reeves, Jeff Seewald, and Jill McDermott at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is the first to test a fundamental assumption of this ‘metabolism first’ hypothesis, and finds that it may not have been as easy as previously assumed. Instead, their findings could provide a focus for the search for life on other planets. The work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. (more…)
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s ‘Dive and Discover’ Begins Jan. 2, 2014
Scientists and engineers using advanced technology and a unique robotic vehicle to study the deep sea will also be using their computers to interact with students, teachers, and the public about the research they are conducting.
Working along the East Pacific Rise, a mid-ocean ridge about 600 miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico, aboard the research vessel Atlantis, scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and their colleagues will examine life in some of the most extreme environments on Earth—deep-sea hydrothermal vents. (more…)
The 1977 discovery of deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystems that obtain energy through chemosynthesis rather than photosynthesis greatly expanded the perception of life on Earth. However, an understanding of their underlying microbiology and biogeochemistry still remains elusive.
A newly funded project, one of several major awards announced by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Dimensions in Biodiversity research program, stands to change that through a multi-disciplinary, international collaborative research effort led by Associate Scientist Stefan Sievert of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. (more…)
*Study Finds Connection between Atmospheric Events and the Deep Ocean*
Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and their colleagues have discovered that massive, swirling ocean eddies–known to be up to 500 kilometers across at the surface–can reach all the way to the ocean bottom at mid-ocean ridges, some 2,500 meters deep, transporting tiny sea creatures, chemicals, and heat from hydrothermal vents over large distances.
The previously unknown deep-sea phenomenon, reported in the April 28 issue of the journal Science, helps explain how some larvae travel huge distances from one vent area to another, said Diane K. Adams, lead author at WHOI and now at the National Institutes of Health. (more…)