Ghostly Relics

Findings Log: 6/30/11

During our third ROV dive on the Galápagos Rift, while searching for active hydrothermal vents, we are experiencing a strong signal in Seirios’ sonar. Immediately, we are approaching the object in near darkness, the form of a towering hydrothermal sulfide spire appeared, then another, and then another, all lining up west-to-east within the graben (an oblong geologic depression) that we are  following. However, rather than billowing jets of superheated black fluid and adornment with lush vent animals, these giants are dormant with only rocky remnants of past black smoker chimneys and scars in the rock where colonies of tubeworms once lived. It is like discovering a once bustling city in the jungle, like Machu Picchu in Peru, that was now ghostly dormant. It must have been a very impressive and vibrant sight at the peak of its activity.

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