Vents & Volcanoes

Hot water, minerals, methane and other chemicals can be found seeping up from the seafloor where specialized communities of microbes and animals thrive. Underwater volcanoes also spew a huge amount of magma and drive movement of the seafloor.

LATEST POSTS

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...

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:...

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...

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

For years, scientists have found pumice, a porous volcanic rock, scattered on the beaches and mangroves of Belize, despite the lack of volcanoes in the immediate area. Thanks to the persistence of one curious...
A map that shows wind and current patterns of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.

Pumice: Just Scratching the Surface

Since 1902, more than 40 centimeters of mangrove peat could have accumulated at the Belize site, enough to entrap and bury small pieces of pumice. But Juan’s vexing questions persisted: Why hadn’t pumice been...
A map that shows wind and current patterns of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.

Mapping the Pumice Journey

Finding pumice on the shores of Belize is a common occurrence based on a lot of anecdotal evidence, and may have figured prominently in Mayan life over the centuries. Maggie’s Mayan friend Doroteo Cho,...

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...

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...

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...

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...