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 (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. 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. 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 (, 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. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (, connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

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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