First ever study to explore beneath the seafloorPublished On: Wed, May 4th, 2011 | Marine Biology | By BioNews
Scientists are one step closer in understanding the natural processes taking place below the seafloor, which also give rise to economically important ores along the seafloor and may play a role in earthquakes.
University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science professor Keir Becker report on the first observatory experiment to study the dynamic microbial life of an ever-changing environment inside Earth”s crust.
During the four-year subsurface experiment, the research team deployed the first in situ experimental microbial observatory systems below the flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, which is located off the coast of Washington (U.S.) and British Columbia (Canada).
Becker and UM Rosenstiel alumnus Andrew Fisher installed the sub-surface observatory technology known as CORK (Circulation Obviation Retrofit Kit), which seals the sub-surface borehole for undisturbed observations of the natural hydrogeological state and microbial ecosystem inside Earth”s crust.
“Similar to a cork in a wine bottle, our technology stops fluids from moving in and out of the drilling hole,” said Becker.
“Ocean water is blocked from entering the hole and flushing out the natural system,” he added.