get at the minerals. In the ocean the deposits are literally sitting on the seafloor, often visible to the naked eye via a remote operated video link. It is anticipated that the SMS deposits can be "surgically" mined in very discrete areas with no waste material to remove and no drilling or blasting will be needed as is commonly practiced in land based mining operations. There may be serious environmental concerns over disturbing the smokers in search of the gold, copper and silver laden deposits. Some worry that processing ships may disturb important living laboratories. To this end, both companies are working closely with scientists to locate target deposits and to assist in extracting samples for scientific as well as commercial analysis. Both companies have invited marine biologists and geologists on their exploration cruises to sample and study the marine life and geology around the black smokers. The detailed exploration work conducted by Nautilus and Neptune is providing the scientists with an excellent opportunity obtain more data. Marine scientists are interested in the many species of plants and animals that live in the presence of the high heat and toxic chemicals blowing out of the smokers. Geologists study "black smokers" to learn more about how land-based mineral deposits would have formed, i.e. interpreting them as a modern analogue of what are known as VMS Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide Deposits. What is spewing out of these smokers is providing scientists with new information about how life formed on the Earth and how some forms of life can survive enormous temperature fluctuations. Nautilus said it is working with scien- Deploying a Canyon Offshore ROV to photograph and sample SMS deposits off Papua New Guinea. (Photo Credit: Nautilus Minerals) www.seadiscovery.com Marine Technology Reporter 25
You don't have Macromedia Flash Player installed.
This content requires the Macromedia Flash Player.