The Seafloor

The seafloor is vast and diverse—from hard to soft bottom, cracks and crannies and mountainous ranges—and supports an equally diverse community of animals and microbes.

LATEST POSTS

DIVE DEEPER

Integrated Ocean Drilling Program

Scientists from the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) collect sediments drilled from Earth’s crust. This marine...
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...
Zombie worm eats whale bones in Japan's Sagami Bay

Zombie Worms Crave Bone

Credit: Yoshihiro Fujiwara/JAMSTEC Zombie worms don’t crave brains: instead they seek bones. The 1 to 3 inch (2 to 7 centimeter) Osedax worms were first discovered living in the bones of a rotting gray...
Small foram shells in seafloor sediment.

Little Critters that tell a BIG Story: Benthic Foraminifera and the Gulf Oil Spill

You are not alone if you don’t know what forams (short for foraminifera) are, so let’s start with the basics. Simply put, forams are single-celled organisms related to the familiar amoeba that produce a...

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...

Oil Invades Coral Communities of the Deep

On the deep seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico, ecosystems made up of fish, corals, sea stars, anemones and other invertebrates flourish. Since the sun’s rays don’t reach the deep sea, coral communities rely...

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...
A map of the Mid Ocean Ridge

Making a Mark on the Ocean Floor

Until very recently oceanography was a field dominated by men. A seafaring career, oceanography was still influenced by the superstitions of ship life; a woman on board was considered to bring bad luck. It...

Just How Big Is the Ocean?

The ocean, which we often break into five large ocean basins, covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface and holds over 1.3 billion cubic km of water. This massive space also holds over 99...

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...
a colored shakemap from the M5.8 Virginia Earthquake depicts the shake range and epicenter of the earthquake

A Guide to Earthquake Lesson Plans

On August 23, 2011 a 5.8 earthquake emanated from the little-known Central Virginia Seismic Zone. The epicenter was near Mineral, VA, but the tremor shook homes, schools, and office buildings in Washington, DC and...

Pages