Oceanography

Explorer Victor Vescovo (left), Founder of Caladan Oceanic, along with Dr Osvaldo Ulloa, Director of the Instituto Milenio de Oceanografia (IMO), have completed the first-ever crewed dive to the deepest point of the Atacama Trench
Explorer Victor Vescovo (left), Founder of Caladan Oceanic, along with Dr Osvaldo Ulloa, Director of the Instituto Milenio de Oceanografia (IMO), have completed the first-ever crewed dive to the deepest point of the Atacama Trench

First-ever crewed dive into Atacama Trench

On 21 January 2022, two men dived the first-ever crewed dive to the deepest point of the Atacama Trench, the deepest trench in the southeastern Pacific.

This feat saw explorer Victor Vescovo, Founder of Caladan Oceanic, and Osvaldo Ulloa from Instituto Milenio de Oceanografia (IMO) descending to 8,069m below sea level, in the submersible Limiting Factor. This dive was the first in the Chilean leg of the Ring of Fire Pt 2 (2022) expedition.

Striking Hydrothermal vents, chimneys, and mirror pools, with large population of tubeworms in the JaichaMaa' ja' ag vent field.
Striking Hydrothermal vents, chimneys, and mirror pools, with large population of tubeworms in the JaichaMaa' ja' ag vent field.

Hydrothermal vents and possible new species discovered in Gulf of California

The hydrothermal vents are located in the Pescadero basin and are unique both in their chemistry and appearance to other known hydrothermal vents, as they are the only ones currently observed to emit clear fluids as opposed to dark, smokey fluids associated with iconic “black smoker” vents.

Indigenous names

The largest of the new vent mounds, named Maija awi, sits midway between the JaichaMaa ‘ja’ag vent field, discovered by the same team during Schmidt Ocean Institute’s 2018 R/V Falkor expedition, and the Auka vent field, discovered during an expedition by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in 2015.

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Our water did not come from space

Where did the oceans really come from?

Most scientists think they came from water-rich asteroids and comets raining down on the planet in its youth. Just after the Earth formed, it was very hot and dry. Prevailing theory suggests that millions of water-rich comets and asteroids bombarded our planet around 3.8 billion years ago, neatly explaining why oceans later appeared.

Also, the ratio of deuterium—or “heavy hydrogen” because it contains a neutron in addition to a proton—to hydrogen in our sea water matches the value found in water-rich asteroids, suggesting a common origin.

Geradia (gold) coral. Some deep-sea coral are now believed to have lifespans in excess of 4,000 years.
Geradia (gold) coral. Some deep-sea coral are now believed to have lifespans in excess of 4,000 years.

Deep-sea coral found to be over 4000 years old

A black deepsea coral found about 400 meters from Oahu and the Big Island in Hawaii is more than 4,000 years old — making it the oldest marine organism ever found, according to researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Using a manned deep-sea research submersible samples were collected at the Makapuu and Lanikai deep-sea coral beds off the coast of Oahu, Keahole Point deep-sea coral bed off the coast of the Big Island and Cross Seamount about 100 miles south of Oahu.