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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 […]

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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 […]

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