How Did That Get There?

An expedition to reveal the secrets of a mysterious huge hole at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean started overnight.

Dr. M (1714 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

7 comments on “How Did That Get There?
  1. Is this the one where they build a vessel of “unobtanium”, enter the oozing mantle, and bore to the core?

  2. Very cool – I had no idea such a hole existed. My only concern is that since the hole “defies conventional tectonic plate theories” it’s just a matter of time until we hear something from the religious right along the lines of “See, scientists can’t explain a giant hole in the earth. Clearly, all of geology is a crock and the Earth can’t possibly be more than 6,000 yrs old.” sigh.

  3. Maybe the creationists will say that the mantle in the hole is the drain plug where all the flood waters went.

  4. They’re slighly hyping this, I think – it’s not so much a ‘hole’ as ‘stuff (mantle rocks) on the surface which is normally beneath something else (oceanic crust)’, and although we’re not really sure why that happens, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen such a thing. The stories I’ve read are very vague on details, but I’d guess that it’s associated with a fracture zone on the ridge, where the crust is always quite thin anyway.

  5. Chris,
    In researching the article I found surprisingly little, published papers or press releases, that gave more information. A diagram would have been nice. My take is similar to yours that it is not hole such much as a bare spot.

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