Long-term impacts of deep-sea mineral mining

This seafloor image (approx. 50cm across) in the abyssal Pacific shows nodules and a large deep-water prawn (Bathystylodactyloidea)

A new international study has demonstrated that deep-sea nodule mining will cause long-lasting damage to deep-sea life.

Mystery of heat loss from the Earth’s crust has been solved

Hydrothermal vent chimney at the Von Damm Vent site

The first discovery of a new type of hydrothermal vent system in a decade helps explain the long observed disconnect between the theoretical rate at which the Earth’s crust is cooling at seafloor spreading ridge flanks, and actual observations. It could also help scientists interpret the evidence for past global climates more accurately.

Methane bubbling off Svalbard is not a source of atmospheric greenhouse gas

Methane hydrate recovered from ocean sediments off Svalbard dissociates into water and methane gas under surface pressure and temperature

Methane seeps from seafloor deposits near Svalbard release less ‘greenhouse gas’ into the atmosphere than other Arctic sites because ocean currents there form an effective barrier.

Discovery of new rock property earns prize

The pore network

The discovery of a new fundamental rock property will improve estimates of underground resources, such as hydrocarbons and drinking water, as well as CO2 storage reservoir capacity.

Massive underwater canyon found in Med

Malta Escarpment

A massive underwater canyon has been discovered in the Mediterranean near Italy by an international team of scientists that includes mapping experts from the National Oceanography Centre.

Study uncovers new evidence for assessing tsunami risk from very large volcanic island landslides

Extracting a core from the seabed. Credit Russell Wynn.

The risk posed by tsunami waves generated by Canary Island landslides may need to be re-evaluated, according to researchers at the National Oceanography Centre. Their findings suggest that these landslides result in smaller tsunami waves than previously thought by some authors, because of the processes involved.

Will sea level rise lead to more underwater landslides?

Graphic denoting continental slope failure. From Bryn et al. (2005)

Underwater landslides are potentially very damaging: they can generate tsunami waves and destroy expensive and crucial seabed infrastructure, such as pipelines and cables.

3-D map of Windermere reveals last Ice Age impact

Multibeam data from the north basin of Windermere (looking north): red areas are shallow, blue areas are deep

PhD student Helen Miller has been in the news in the Northeast with her research on Windermere. Working with the British Geological Survey, the Environment Agency and the University of Southampton, her PhD studies aim to investigate modern and glacial environments and processes in Windermere.

New fossil discovery gives new insight into the evolution of birds

Aurornis (image: Emiliano Troco)

The discovery of a new species of bird-like dinosaur is giving scientists new insight into the evolution of birds.

Golden plumes from deep Earth

Earth’s interior structure (Courtesy: Planet Earth Online)

Plumes of hot rock from deep within the Earth are lacing rock beneath the Atlantic Ocean with gold, scientists have discovered.