Archives

Barnacles attached to hydrothermal vent spires feeding at Kawio Barat. Critics of the Solwara 1 project raised concerns about its potential impact on the ecosystems that center on hydrothermal vents. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010

A Primer on Seafloor Massive Sulphides

Formed at the margins where tectonic plates collide or diverge, seafloor massive sulphides are the most geologically active and among the most metal-rich deep-sea deposits. Only discovered in 1977 (though there were some tantalizing near misses several decades earlier), exploration on these prospects is relatively immature compared to formations like polymetallic nodule fields, which have […]

Read More
Cobalt-rich Crusts collected from the Tropic Seamount. Photo courtesy NERC.

A Primer on Cobalt-rich Crusts

Scattered throughout the ocean are thick, metal-rich crusts that grow slowly on the exposed sides of seamounts. Among the three major ore types that are the predominant focus of deep-sea mining, these cobalt-rich crusts have received the least attention. While polymetallic nodules have occupied the deep-sea mining community’s collective imagination since the genesis of the […]

Read More
Greenpeace organized a peaceful demonstration on the protection of the ocean outside the headquarters of the ISA. Photo ENB.

From the Editor: Big moves at the second part of the 25th Session of the International Seabed Authority

Last week saw the conclusion of the 25th Session of the International Seabed Authority. Though much progress was made, significant work still lies ahead to meet to self-imposed 2020 deadline for implementing the draft exploitation regulations. As always, the Earth Negotiations Bulletin has provided a comprehensive summary of the overall meeting as well as day-to-day […]

Read More

A big-hearted iron snail is the first deep-sea species to be declared endangered due to seabed mining.

In 2001, on an expedition to hydrothermal vent fields in the Indian Ocean, researchers made a bizarre discovery. Clustered in small aggregations around the base of a black smoker was an unusual snail, seemingly clad in a suit of armor. Rather than a single, hard, calcareous structure, the snail’s operculum was covered in a series […]

Read More

26 years after experimental mining, a seabed ecosystem has yet to recover

In 1989, the largest attempt to model the impacts of a deep-sea mining operation was conducted across 1100 hectares of seafloor in the Peru Basin. The Disturbance and Recolonization Experiment (DISCOL) simulated polymetallic nodule extraction by dragging an 8-meter plough-harrow across a nodule field, creating 78 troughs that mimicked one likely consequence of dragging a […]

Read More
Figure 1. From Turner et al. (2019)

Identifying and communicating the value of a hydrothermal vent

The deep sea has a PR problem. Most people have little to no conception of what deep ocean ecosystems look like, what lives there, or how human well-being may depend on them. Deep-sea ecosystems provide many indirect services that benefit humanity, yet they are poorly quantified and infrequently discussed.  A new paper by graduate student […]

Read More

How to access a research paper.

Deep-sea mining, as both an industry and community of practice, is highly engaged in the scientific process. From plume flow models to environmental baselines to new engineering advancements, much of the core discussions happening in deep sea mining happens within the scientific literature. This is incredibly valuable when it comes to fostering partnerships and collaborations […]

Read More