Galapagos rift

In some ocean hollows, the deepest and inhospitable, communities of living beings evolved in such a way that can exist, without depending on energy of the sun. They receive it from terrestrial depths, refuting thereby the theory according to which without sunlight and heat life is impossible. Clouds of steam. Steam curling over the sea – a graphic evidence of the fact that the heated lava pours out from Earth subsoil in ice ocean waters. Presence of crayfish – galaty demonstrates that nearby there are deep-water thermal sources. This look prevails among the animals living around “oil lamps”. The small, furiously looking crayfish evolved in the environment which is absolutely deprived of light. Therefore they do not need sight or pigmentation. As these crayfish were open relatively recently, scientists did not establish yet whether they are found somewhere else. In 1977 the group of scientists on a bathyscaphe of “Alvin” conducted researches of “ice” depths of the Galapagossky rift in 390 km to the northwest of the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It was known that in this area the tectonic plates forming crust constantly are removed from each other with a speed up to 20 cm a year. The emptiness which is formed between them is filled by the liquid heated lava which at contact with cold water stiffens therefore at the bottom there are new rocky educations reminding in a pillow form. The Elvina team found these new rocks, and at a depth of 2600 m it also opened the amazing country where in complete darkness there live beings unknown to science. The sunlight never gets on such depths, and water pressure by 100 times exceeds air pressure in a car tire. During the whole year water temperature does not rise higher than 2 ° -4 °C here. However in this at first sight lifeless environment there are heat oases around which sea life teems. Here, where through cracks in the hardened basalt of a seabed warm mineral sources beat (to 20 °C), unique life forms which do not depend on a sunlight developed. Their existence is contrary to the settled idea that all life on Earth depends on energy of the sun. Earlier it was supposed that nutrients are produced by land and sea green plants from carbon dioxide and water by means of a sunlight, and all animals eat, eventually, at the expense of plants. In the Galapagos rift there are five separate oases. Four of them are over failures in a seabed from which with a force hot water beats. The fifth oasis – now a dead zone. Temperature is close to zero here. Point that this place once was a warm oasis only the sinks of the dead of mollusks which filled cracks between basalt pillows. Four warm oases among fancy heaps of stones serve as a habitat of a large number of living beings. On basalt there live numerous flickering colonies of huge clams. Their sinks of white color, and pulp scarlet from hemoglobin. Besides, mountains of mussels lie here. Around them hordes of the blind crabs ghosts relying on sense of smell and touch trade. crabs-galateas and worms – serpulida filter food from water, and saucers and corals-organchiki are attached to stones. Some of inhabitants of hollows are not similar on any other animals on Earth. The beings reminding a white fluffy dandelion and live spaghetti concern to them. The most surprising beings are large red trubochnik who are restricted closer to heat source. These are the white tubes reaching three-meter length and terminating in a bright red shoot. Their structure furnishes the clue to understanding of the most surprising feature of life in warm-water oases. They have neither mouth, nor intestines. Instead, they by means of the bacteria characteristic only for places of their dwelling, absorb the oxygen, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide dissolved in the sources beating under water through 300 000 sensitive shchupalets on tips of their tubular bodies. Numerous colonies of the adapted bacteria living pleated bodies of worms turn the filtered substances into digestible food which is soaked up by capillaries of a worm. Abundance of sea living creatures is not the only richness of deep-water warm oases. Water, filtering through cracks and deepenings of a seabed, washes away mineral substances and chemical compounds which are a part of the rocky soil lying under an ocean bed. Heating up and being thrown up back to the ocean through peculiar underwater nozzles, water bears these minerals with itself. As a result many mineral substances harden and are laid for a seabed. As it is continuous process which all the time goes in the same place, the mountain of mineral rainfall can grow only up and in breadth. Therefore the columns formed of this rainfall reach the 55-meter height and diameter of 180 m at the basis. These the “black oil lamps” (called so because the water which is thrown up from their craters is black from mineral substances) contain huge concentration of iron, barium, calcium, copper, zinc, lithium and manganese. Commercial development of such fields can be and is unprofitable, however there is an opinion that with their help to scientists it will be possible to find similar riches on the land which once was a seabed. Quite recently, in the sixties, the ocean bottom was considered as gloomy, cold, almost lifeless desert. Existence of rich and various fauna in ecosystems of deep-water hydrothermal sources proved that, at least, one of these statements is not true.

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