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Biological Communities: Cold Seep Communities

Cold Seep Communities
II. Discovery of Hydrothermal Vents and Cold Seeps

The discovery of chemosynthetic communities at hydrothermal vents (Corliss et al. 1979) and cold seeps (Paull et al. 1984) was largely a result of advanced technology that increased human access to deep sea habitats. Hydrothermal vents were first suspected to exist after hot water 'spikes' were detected near the sea floor at abyssal depths (Lonsdale 1977). The actual discovery of vents and seeps occurred during dives of manned submersibles (Corliss et al. 1979, Paull et al. 1984). Later discoveries of such sites have come about from direct observations of the sea floor using manned or unmanned submersibles (i.e. remotely operated vehicles or ROVs), and we now suspect that cold seeps are a common component of continental borderlands, where fluid flow through the continental crust may be controlled by various processes.


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