Vents & Volcanoes

A variety of corals cling to Manning Seamount, just off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Seamounts, A Deep-Sea Habitat

Thousands of seamounts—most of them undersea volcanoes—tower above the muddy seafloor. They provide something hard to come by in the deep ocean : a solid surface to cling to. This photo gallery shows some...
Tube worms called riftia occupy a deep-sea vent

Riftia Worms: One Species at a Time

In this episode of the Podcast of Life , host Ari Daniel Shapiro dives deep to discover a white worm as tall as your refrigerator that breathes through bright red feathery "lips." This isn’t...

Submarine Volcanoes Erupting

Did you know that 80 percent of the volcanic eruptions on Earth take place underwater? These underwater eruptions occur regularly, forming new landmasses and providing a living environment for deep-sea creatures . In 2009,...

Submarine Volcanoes and Hydrothermal Vents

Recent scientific discoveries have revealed an underwater community of marine animals and other organisms that thrive in the dark depths of the ocean near hydrothermal vents and undersea volcanoes. This ocean ecosystem is dependent...

Understanding the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Using maps and graphics, Smithsonian geologist Dr. Liz Cottrell provides an overview of the major earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011—one of the largest ever recorded globally. She explains the...

Corals in the Juan de Fuca Canyon and the Davidson Seamount

Discover some amazing corals in this footage that shows and identifies a range of deep-sea coral species from the Juan de Fuca Canyon off the Olympic coast and the Davidson Seamount, an underwater volcano...
Dive through the zones of the ocean to the deep ocean bottom where many strange species live, and there are many yet to be discovered. Explore them in the Deep Ocean Exploration section.

What We DON'T Know About the Deep Sea

Dive through the zones of the ocean to the deep ocean bottom where many strange species live, and there are many yet to be discovered. Explore them in the Deep Ocean Exploration section. Credit:...
Intense volcanic CO2 vents in Ili Ili Bua Bua, Normanby Island, Papua New Guinea.

Will Coral Reefs Survive Acidification?

Nestled among the beautiful coral reefs of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a place that could provide the key to our understanding of one of the biggest threats to coral reef survival: Ocean Acidification...
Where the pH is the lowest, corals can no longer grow - sand, rubble and seagrasses replace the reef.

Sneak Peek: Future of Coral Reefs in an Acidifying Ocean

Scientists don’t often get the opportunity to travel through time. But nestled among the beautiful coral reefs of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a place that provides a glimpse today of what could be...
Carrie Bow Cay field station sits in the blue and turquoise waters of Belize.

Tracking volcanic rock to the shores of Belize

Mangrove Mystery – Where Did All the Pumice Come From? For years, scientists have found pumice, a porous volcanic rock, scattered on the beaches and mangroves of Belize, despite the lack of volcanoes in...
A squat lobster and blackbelly rosefish find shelter on a Lophelia pertusa coral reef off the southeastern United States.

Deep-sea Corals

It may be the last place you’d expect to find corals—up to 6,000 m (20,000 ft) below the ocean’s surface, where the water is icy cold and the light dim or absent. Yet believe...

How Oil Feeds the Deep Sea

Positioned in front of a natural oil seep, this video camera is capturing images of the black oil bubbling up from beneath the sea floor. A light mounted to the frame helps see what...

The Discovery of Two Extreme Sea Stars

Two new species of sea stars were discovered in the deep sea: Paulasterias tyleri (on the left) in a North Pacific hydrothermal vent community, and Paulasterias mcclaini (on the right) in the deep sea...
Riftia tubeworm (Riftia pachyptila) colonies near hot spring.

The Microbes That Keep Hydrothermal Vents Pumping

These tubeworm colonies grow where hot, mineral-laden water flows out of the seafloor in undersea hot springs. Credit: ©2003 MBARI By Lyndsy Gazda & the Ocean Portal Team Life is typically sparse on the...

Creep into the Deep

Down below where the sunlight cannot penetrate, the ocean is a dark, cold and alien landscape. Can life really exist in such an extreme environment? NOAA Ocean Today Every Full Moon takes a look...

Deep Sea Dive

NOAA Ocean Today Every Full Moon takes you on a dive to the depths of the ocean. Using Remote Operating Vehicles (ROVs) scientists can now explore areas of the ocean floor that were once...

Hydrothermal Vent Creatures

Travel to a world of perpetual night--the deep ocean hydrothermal vents near the Galapagos Rift where life thrives around superheated water spewing from deep inside the Earth. Discovered only in 1977, hydrothermal vents are...