Jets of searingly hot water spewing up from the ocean floor have been discovered in a far-northern zone of the Arctic Sea, Swiss-based scientists announced on Monday.
The so-called "black smokers" were found 73 degrees north, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Greenland and Norway, in the coldest waters yet for a phenomenon first observed around the Galagapos islands in 1977.
The earth’s plumbing system of hydrothermal vents contain their own, unique ecosystems given the absence of sunlight at depths, in this case, of 2,400 meters, with vinegar-like water attaining temperatures of up to 400 degrees Celsius.
A team from Norway’s University of Bergen and the Lausanne-based Swiss Federal Institute of Technology found the vents on an expedition in June, with the results published on the Swiss polytechnic’s website.
These geo-thermal currents are found on undersea, geologically active "mountain ranges" — formed from mighty tectonic plates that push into each other and create spines along the ocean floor.
Hydrothermal vents have been called "black smokers" for the bilious clouds of material emitted from their chimneys.
Scientists are discovering new weird, resilient microbial lifeforms that live in these clusters, feeding off flecks of gold and other minerals from Earth’s interior.