Deep in the ocean lies a ‘Lost City’, and it’s a place unlike any other: ScienceAlert

Deep in the ocean lies a 'Lost City', and it's a place unlike any other: ScienceAlert
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Near the summit of a seamount west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a jagged landscape of towers rises from the darkness.

Their creamy carbonate walls and columns appear ghostly blue in the light of a remote-controlled vehicle sent to explore. They vary in height small piles are the size of toadstools to a large monolith It stands 60 meters (about 200 feet) tall. This is the Lost City.

Vision of the Lost City
A remote-controlled car shines a light on the towers of the Lost City. (D. Kelley/UW/URI-IAO/NOAA).

Discovered by scientists in 2000 more than 700 meters (2,300 ft) below the surface, The Lost City Hydrothermal Field is the longest-lived known vent environment in the ocean. Nothing else like it has been found.

For at least 120,000 years, and possibly longer, the rising mantle in this part of the world has been reacting with seawater to blow hydrogen, methane and other dissolved gases into the ocean.

In the cracks and crevices of the bed vents, the hydrocarbons feed new microbial communities even without oxygen.

Bacteria in a calcite column.
Chains of bacteria living in a calcite vent in the Lost City. (University of Washington/CC BY 3.0).

Chimneys emit hot gases at 40 °C (104°F) home to an abundance of snails and crustaceans. Larger animals such as crabs, shrimps, sea urchins and eels are rare but still present.

Despite the extreme nature of the environment, it seems to be full of life, and some researchers think that it is worth our attention and protection.

While other similar hydrothermal vents likely exist elsewhere in the world’s oceans, this is the only one so far that remotely piloted vehicles have been able to find.

The hydrocarbons produced by the Lost City’s vents were formed not by atmospheric carbon dioxide or sunlight, but by chemical reactions in the deep sea.

Since hydrocarbons are the building blocks of life, it is possible that life originated in this habitat. And not only on our own planet.

Microbiologist William Brazelton: “This is an example of the kind of ecosystem that might be active on Enceladus or Europa.” awning In 2018, the Smithsonian visited Saturn’s moons and Jupiter.

“And maybe mars in the past.”

It is called in contrast to submarine volcanic vents black smokersAlso referred to as a possible first habitat, the ecosystem of the Lost City does not depend on the heat of the magma.

Black smokers mainly produce minerals rich in iron and sulphur, while the chimneys of the Lost City Up to 100 times more hydrogen and methane.

The calcite voids of the Lost City are also much, much larger than those of the black smokers, indicating that they have been active for much longer.

A tall vent from the Lost City
A nine-meter-high chimney in the Lost City. (University of Washington / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution).

The tallest of the monoliths is named after the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, and stretches over 60 meters in height.

Just northeast of the tower is a cliff with short-lived activities. University of Washington researchers describe the vents here emit “delicate, multifaceted carbonate growths that extend outward like the fingers of upturned hands” as they “weep” with fluid.

Unfortunately, scientists are not the only ones who are attracted to this unusual terrain.

In 2018, it was announced that Poland earned his rights Mine the deep sea around The Lost City. Although the actual thermal site itself has no valuable resources to mine, destroying the city’s surroundings can have unintended consequences.

Scientists warn that any plumes or waste generated by mining operations could easily wash away the prime habitat.

Therefore, add specialists calls List the Lost City as a World Heritage Site to protect the natural wonder before it’s too late.

The lost city has stood as a testament to the enduring power of life for tens of thousands of years.

It would be like us to destroy it.

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