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Gulf of California: New animal species found

Researchers from Mexico and the USA have discovered new hydrothermal vents and previously unknown animal species in the Gulf of California.

The Matterhorn, a hydrothermal vent displaying an abundance of red tube worms.
The Matterhorn, a hydrothermal vent displaying an abundance of red tube worms.

According to the Schmidt Ocean Institute, the hydrothermal vents emit fluid up to 287 degrees. While in other regions the fluids are often dark and the springs are therefore called black smokers, they are transparent in the Gulf of California, the researchers report.

They took samples to analyse the chemical composition of the liquid. They also want to find out whether the hydrothermal vents are interconnected or whether they feed independently from each other from individual cracks in the earth's crust.

Multiborsters, arrowworms, crabs

On the expedition with the research vessel “Falkor“, the scientists discovered at least six possibly hitherto unknown species, including multiborsters, arrowworms, crustaceans and molluscs. With a diving robot, they took pictures of the seabed and of iridescent blue scale worms.

In the past three years, the scientists explored almost 20,000 square kilometres of the Gulf of California. That is equivalent to about one-eighth of the total area, they said.

“Studying the relatively rapid rate at which the Gulf of California is forming expands our knowledge of how continental margins form – the places where most people live today,“ says Ronald Spelz-Madero of the Independent University of Baja California.

 

Written by sda

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