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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024

Scientists make astonishing discovery following trail of crabs to hydrothermal vent in galápagos islands

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Squat lobsters lead researchers to a new hydrothermal vent field in the ocean depths

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A team of scientists, led by the Schmidt Ocean Institute, has made a groundbreaking discovery in the Galápagos Islands, uncovering a new hydrothermal vent field thanks to a trail of crabs. The research began in 2008 when an anomaly was detected, prompting an investigation into the Galápagos Spreading Center (GSC) region.

Expedition co-leader Jill McDermott, a chemical oceanographer at Lehigh University, explained that the researchers followed a lens of low-oxygen, chemically enriched water using a remotely operated vehicle. The unexpected discovery came when they spotted a dense population of squat lobsters, also known as galatheid crabs, leading them to a vast field covering 98,800 square feet, now named ‘Sendero del Cangrejo’ or ‘Trail of the Crabs’.

Hydrothermal vents, which can only occur in areas with volcanic activity, release water heated by Earth’s magma chambers into the ocean. The researchers observed a diverse ecosystem near the hydrothermal vent, including giant tube worms, large clams, mussels, mollusks, and octopuses.

This new hydrothermal vent field, located between the Cocos and Nazca tectonic plates, showcases the remarkable interconnectedness of ocean life and geological processes.

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