Thanks to enterprising underwater explorers, I am now convinced that the seabed contains portals to-asque upside down.
A team of researchers from the Schmidt Ocean Institute spent their days exploring the depths of the Gulf of California as part of the "Microbial Mysteries" expedition. During the past month, the team sampled the area, recording a video about 2,000 meters below the surface. During this time, they collected data to detail microbial communities and depth metabolism and to better understand how microbes live around hydrothermal vents and cold seeps.
Abroad, an extreme environment of the depths, it is remarkable to see life flourish and use the nutrient-rich vents and seeps to stay alive. But it was another geological formation, caused by an underwater volcano, which offered the greatest surprise.
Using the Institute's "Falkor" research vessel and their robotic explorer "ROV SuBastian" remotely piloted, researchers were able to discover new geologic formations with "mirror-shaped flanges" – areas where the Fluid hydrothermal vents are collected in stunning basins. When Chief Scientist Mandy Joye spotted one of the unusual pools, her jaw literally fell.
You can see a ton of amazing images of shipping, in 4K, below:
These are not all good news for the ocean floor.
"Unfortunately, even in these remote and beautiful environments, we've seen lots of trash, including fishing nets, deflated Mylar balloons and even a discarded Christmas tree," Joye said in a press release. "This has been an extreme juxtaposition alongside spectacular mineral structures and biodiversity."
In some of the "highlights", rubbish is scattered over rocks and muddy ground. At one point in the video, the smiling face of Olaf, the snowman of Disney's animated film Frozen, smiles at the underwater camera. We have foundThis is not surprising, but it casts a solemn veil over the discoveries of the Ocean Institute.