Hydrothermal vents may contribute more to the thermal budget of the oceans than previously assumed
Scientists from the MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen on board the German research vessel Meteor have discovered a new hydrothermal vent 500 kilometres south-west of the Azores.
The vent with chimneys as high as one meter and fluids with temperatures up to 300 degrees Celsius was found at one thousand metres water depth in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
The discovery of the new deep-sea vent is remarkable because the area in which it was found has been intensively studied during previous research cruises. The MARUM and Max Planck researchers describe their discovery in their video blog.
The Bremen scientists were able to find the hydrothermal vent by using the new, latest-generation multibeam echosounder on board the research vessel Meteor that allows the imaging of the water column above the ocean floor with previously unattained precision.
The scientists saw a plume of gas bubbles in the water column at a site about 5 kilometers away from the known large vent field Menez Gwen that they were working on. A dive with the remote-controlled submarine MARUM-QUEST revealed the new hydrothermal site with smokers and animals typically found at vents on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.