(most recent items at end of list!)
- Hypothesis of Black-Sea Deluge as Noah's Flood is Challenged.
See the original story below on the idea that
a massive flood from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea (thousands
of years ago) gave rise to the Noah legend. Researchers have been
using deep-sea technology to look for evidence deep in the Black Sea.
New research contradicts the hypothesis. The question is still open.
- Jan. 11: Bacteria
found deep under the sea floor. S. Giovannoni of Oregon
State University and colleagues report tghe discovery of microbes
living in fluids in the Earth'c crust 300m below the Juan de Fuca
Ridge. They suggest that there is an enormous microbial ecosystem
in the crust that is independent of sunlight. See the 11-Jan issue
of New Scientist, p.13, or click the link above.
- Jan. 18: Unexpectedly
high activity of hydrothermal venting found in Arctic Ridge. H.
Edmonds and colleagues found that the Gakkel Ridge under the ice of
the Arctic Ocean has more hydrothermal vents that geologist predicted.
As the ocean is isolated, these vents may have undiscovered species
of vent animals and microbes. Click the link above, or See Jan. 18
Science News, p.37.
- Jan.-Feb: Robotic probes explore the oceans. In recent years,
several types of robotic vehicles have been designed to explore, measure
and map the deep ocean. Two new articles on these give details: Nature
v.421 p. 468 (30-Jan-03); and Science News 1-Feb-03 p. 75.
- Jan. 31: Resources of the deep sea: An article by P. Rona
in the 31-Jan-03 Science, p.673, discusses the mineral and
petroleum resources of the deep ocean floor. Unique mineral deposits
form in the deep from hydrothermal activity.
- Apr. 02: Collosal
in the Antarctic: An intact but dead Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni,
the collosal squid known only from 6 specimens, was caught near Antarctica.
This species is much larger than the famous Giant Squid! It may grow
well over 20m/66ft in length, though no one knows. See also item
- Apr 26: "A Rocky Start" is an article in the Apr.
26 Science News on recent research on the origin of life.
In particular, conditions at hydrothermal vents along with
iron-sulfide catalysis might have been the key.
- May 7: New
species of huge jelly found in the bathypelagic: off Central California,
researchers from MBARI
have discoverd "Big Red," a meter-wide jelly with short
arms instead of tentacles, which they think lives between 600 and
1500m (bathypelagic). Little else is known.
- June 7: A record high temperature for life was reported by
Kashefi and colleagues at the Amer. Soc. Microbiology meeting in May.
They report isolating a archaeon (archaebacterium) from volcanic
fluid on the Pacific seafloor; the microbe can grow at 121C and even
live at 130C (the previous record was 113C). See
the June 7 issue of Science News, p.366.
- May 31: The
earliest life on Earth was probably in hot springs or hydrothermal
vents, according to a new genetic analysis showing the relatedness
of all major life groups correlated by thermal tolerance. The analysis
yields an evolutionary tree that shows the earliest life forms were
adapted to very high temperatures. See New Scientist May 31
2003, p.20, or click
- June 14: The Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench has now
been found to be the result of one tectonic plate being forced under
another plate in a way that is causing the first plate to be torn
in two. This creates the great depth of this trench. See New Scientist
June 14, 2003, p.16.
- June 26: More information was released on the odd Gakkel Ridge,
the spreading center hidden under the Arctic icecap. This ridge is
deeper and slower-spreading than other ridge areas, and has unexpectedly
high hydrothermal activity. See Nature 26-June 2003, p.932.
- July 2: Mysterious deep-sea blob washes ashore
in Chile. It might be a rare 40-foot (12-meter) giant octopus
from 3000m, or something more mundane such as a piece of whale skin,
or a conglomeration of plankton. See news item #12 under "2002
NEWS" below for a real deep-sea octopus. UPDATEs DEC.
2003/July 2004: Researchers use molecular analysis to discover that
the blob is skin from a sperm whale!
- July 26: Hydrothermal Mineral formations at the Lost City on
the MidAtlantic Ridge may be at least 30,000 years old. See Science
News July 26, p. 52. See 2005 news for an update! Meanwhile,
expedition explored the methane seeps of the Blake Ridge off the
- July 26-Aug. 10: Iron-eating microbes on the Titanic are
described in an article in New Scientist, July 26,
- July 31: Larve of hydrothermal vent animals may spread to
other vents from their parents by following currents within a rift
valley. Thomson et al. report in Nature v424 p545
(July 31) on these vent-induced currents that stay within the
valley of the Endeavor Ridge off Washington State.
- Aug. 2: The giant and collosal squids are discussed in an
article in New Scientist 2-Aug-03, p. 24. See
item 6 above also.
- Aug. 21: A deep-sea sponge's skeleton is a fiber-optic device
as good as or better than human-made cables...click the link, or see
Nature Aug. 21 issue.
- Aug. 22: Seamounts
(undersea mountains) off Cape Cod were explored in July, and a
news story appeared in the Aug. 22 issue of Science.
Seamounts, of which there may be 30,000 in the sea, are largely
unexplored, and so far have been fouhnd to have many animals species
previously unknown. Click the blue link for information on the internet.
- Sept. 3: A
deep-sea nursery for blob sculpin and an octopus were discovered by
MBARI scientists using an ROV on a ridge off N. California. Large
numbers of the fish and octopod were found brooding their eggs on
the ridge, a behavior not before documented.
- Sept. 9 and Aug. 15: Record
high temperature found for life discovered: 130C (266F) for a
vent microbe (Aug. 15). The discovery was by Dr. D. Lovley and colleagues
(Science, Aug. 15 issue), who later reported that these
microbes use IRON as an energy source and produce MAGNETITE as
a result. Magnetite is the naturally magnetic mineral that humans
first used to make compasses.
- Oct. 23: The Census
of Marine Life is a decade-long project (involving 53 coutries)
that hopes to catalogue as many marine species as possible. New species
are being found routinely, including new
species of deep-sea fish. See also this CBS News
- Nov. 6: Jellies are turning out to have a far greater role
in ocean ecosystems than previously suspected, especially in the deep
sea.The 6-Nov-03 issue of Nature (vol. 426, pp12-14)
has a news feature on "Close encounters of the jelly kind"
describing the latest research with submersibles, etc. An example
of a newly discovered deep-sea jelly can be found in this Zootaxa
- Nov. 7: Hot-vent
gastropod has iron-sulfide armor! Waren et al. report in the 7-Nov-03
Science (p. 1007) that a snail from Indian-Ocean hydrothermal
vents has unique plates of iron-sulfide crystals covering its foot.
- Dec. 17: WHOI
(Woods Hole Oceanogr. Inst) announced plans to build a "hybrid"
ROV to dive to the greatest ocean depths. The Japanese ROV KAIKO
had been the only vehicle that could dive to the deepest depths, visiting
the Marianas Trench in 1995. Unfortunately, it was lost
at sea in Sept. 2003.