It could be a landscape on a foreign world. Strange optical effects and dazzling mineral formations bloom on the edge of a water so hot that it would be steaming, if it was not the pressure of all that deep ocean that lies above him.
Researchers aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute's Falkor research vessel recently captured some amazing snapshots of a hydrothermal vents field located about two kilometers below the surface of the Gulf of California.
The ecosystems surrounding the bleeding fissures of the Gulf have recently attracted attention, both for their curious life forms and their breathtaking geology.
These imposing 23 meter (75 feet) tall volcanic chimneys are another example of a hidden part of the planet that we are just beginning to understand.
"We discovered remarkable towers where every surface was occupied by a certain type of life," said Mandy Joye, a marine science scientist, from the University of Georgia.
"The vibrant color found on" living rocks "was striking and reflected a diversity of biological composition as well as mineral distributions."
Fluted shelves of colored minerals in brilliant tones; life nourished not by sunlight but by the oozing of a liquid rising from below; shimmering fluids accumulating beneath rocky shelves, refracting light like mirrors in solid silver.
Take a moment to fall in love with the sight. Because there is a sad note to this story.
"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," says Joye.
Because of course they did it. Even in the cold and overwhelming shadow of a sunless world, there are traces of our trash.
For more pictures of this beautiful world, click here.