Mountains hidden in the deep sea are biological hot spots. Will mining ruin them?

Date: September 12, 2019

Source: Science Mag
Author: Warren Cornwall

In late 2016, scientists aboard the U.K. research ship James Cook arrived 500 kilometers off the coast of northwest Africa, seeking two treasures joined by a curse.

Submerged 1 kilometer beneath the ship, in permanent darkness and crushing pressure, was a dead volcano, the Tropic Seamount. One treasure bloomed on its flanks: an otherworldly, multicolored forest. Curled, pale sponges that looked like potato chips the size of dinner plates grew there, as did spindly white corals festooned with squid egg sacks.

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