Scientists explore deep Caribbean trough

2013-08-23 11:10
Ocean. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Ocean. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

San Juan - The man whose research team discovered the wreckage of the Titanic has now turned his attention to the deepest trough of the Caribbean Sea.

Dr Robert Ballard was aboard a 64m research vessel with dozens of other scientists to probe the Cayman Trough this week and collect samples of organisms they say might reveal how life might exist on other planets.

On Thursday, the team was using remotely operated vehicles that have so far captured a dumbo octopus, named for its two ear-like fins; a sea cucumber with an unidentified appendage; and various invertebrates living around hydrothermal vents that can reach temperatures of more than 400°C.

Scientists have collected nearly 100 chemosynthetic shrimp, which can convert carbon molecules into organic matter by using inorganic molecules rather than sunlight for energy, and two worms living near the vents, Katy Croff Bell, chief scientist of the Nautilus Exploration Programme, said in a phone interview from the ship.

The team also explored an underwater mountain that had never been dived before and discovered areas of underwater landslides, she said.

New species

"That's the whole mission of the Nautilus, to get out, create maps of the sea floor and look to see where there are interesting geological features, which typically lead to biological life as well," Croff Bell said.

She said the scientists planned to launch the first exploration of a ridge located near two tectonic plates inside the trough that are moving apart and forming new earth.

Previous expeditions to the region led to the discovery in 2010 by British researchers of the world's deepest known hydrothermal vents, as well as several new species.

The current exploration of the Cayman Trough, which plunges to a depth of more than 7 600m, ends next week. The Nautilus will then return to port in September to avoid potential hurricanes before heading to the US territory of Puerto Rico in October.

There scientists hope to explore earthquake-triggered underwater landslides along the island's north coast to determine their frequency and magnitude as well as whether such slides are capable of unleashing a tsunami.

They plan to visit the islands of Montserrat and Grenada to look at underwater landslides as well. Researchers also will analyse an active underwater volcano just north of Grenada named Kick 'em Jenny that hasn't been explored in the past 10 years, Croff Bell said.

Small earthquakes occur frequently in the region, although the last tsunami occurred in October 1918 following an earthquake that struck off Puerto Rico's northwest coast and killed 116 people, including 40 from a tsunami.

- AP

Read more on:    earthquakes  |  environment
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Saturday Newlands - 12:32 PM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    DELAYS between Wynberg Hill and UCT due to 2 Oceans Marathon
  • Saturday Hout Bay - 12:31 PM
    Road name: Hout Bay Main Road
    EXPECT DELAYS between Hout Bay and Constantia due to 2 Oceans Marathon
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.