Bathymetry of a rift segment of the North Guaymas spreading center in the central Gulf of California shows a series of subsurface features. They are interpreted to be shallow sills intruded into the sediment-filled basin up to 50 km from the rift axis (lower left). High-resolution imaging by sidescan sonar revealed nearly 100 potential hydrothermal vent sites (yellow points) believed to result from widespread emplacement of magma over an area 10 times wider than expected at mid-ocean ridges. Deep-sea photographic surveys at some of the sites (red points) found elevated temperatures and methane concentrations in near-bottom waters and vibrant chemosynthetic animal communities (upper right, photo, about 5m across) containing tubeworms, clams, crabs, bacterial mats, and microbially precipitated carbonate deposits. The intrusion of magma into the sediments has the potential to release significant amounts of carbon from the sediments, previously thought to act as a long term carbon repository. (Credit: Graphic by S. Adam Soule, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Dr. M (1768 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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