The water emitted from the volcano has been found to be extremely acidic. Sample tests showed the level of acidity to be similar to the levels of battery acid or stomach acid.
Areas of hydrothermal activity have long been known to host a rich diversity of undersea life. Despite the harsh conditions at this site nearly 4,000 feet deep, Tim Shank, a biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has found shrimp thriving in the acidic vent water near the eruption. NOAA and the NSF hope that continued study of active deep-ocean eruptions such as these will provide a better understanding of oceanic cycles of carbon dioxide and sulfur gases, and how life adapts to some of the harshest conditions on the planet.
December 18, 2009 3:14 PM PST
Photo by: NOAA and NSF
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