Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Deepest Volcanic Sea Vents Found; "Like Another World"

Deepest underwater Volcano may harbor unknown creatures!!! NatGeo

Three miles (five kilometers) below the surface of the Caribbean Sea (map), great volcanic chimneys gush subterranean water hot enough to melt lead.

Found via robotic submersibles on April 6, these two-story-tall "black smokers" are the world's deepest known hydrothermal vents, scientists announced from aboard a research ship Sunday.

"It was like wandering across the surface of another world," geochemist Bramley Murton, speaking in a press statement, said of steering a submersible around the record-breaking volcanic vents.

"The rainbow hues of the mineral spires and the fluorescent blues of the microbial mats covering them were like nothing I had ever seen before," said Murton, who, like the rest of the team, works with the U.K.'s National Oceanography Centre.

The answer will have to wait. "We've only just started to study the marine life at this site and don't yet have a full picture of it," marine biologist Jon Copley told National Geographic News from aboard the James Cook. "It will then take more work to see how species here relate to those at other vents around the world.

"But once we have those results, these new vents should help to reveal what governs patterns of marine life at deep-sea vents," Copley said. "Those answers should also tell us about patterns of deep ocean life in general—and the deep ocean is our planet's largest habitat.

"Vents are great natural laboratories for understanding such patterns in that vast realm, just as terrestrial islands were for 19th-century naturalists."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Outrage as Japan ups whale hunt budget

Uh OH Japan is upping WHALE WARS budget 54%!! Business Report

Japan plans to increase its annual “whale research” budget in 2012, officials said Friday, in a move that has outraged animal rights' activists, who argue that the country exploits the research proviso to bring whale meat to its market.

The Fisheries Ministry told dpa it had asked for additional funds in order to protect whaling ships from attacks by animal rights groups.

In 2011, the ministry set aside 715 million yen (or 6.95 million euro) for the hunt. In its most recent budget request, it asked for 1.1 billion yen for 2012 - a 54 per cent increase year-over-year.

Japanese Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano said earlier this week that an escort ship would, for the first time, accompany the fleet when it sets sail for Antarctic waters in November.

Japanese boats ended whaling earlier than usual last season after having been hounded by ships from the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

New Zealand on Wednesday condemned Japan's announcement that it would resume whaling in the Southern Ocean this year.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said Japan was isolating itself from the international community by continuing to catch whales under its “highly dubious” scientific research programme.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Desperate operation to pump oil from stranded cargo ship begins off New Zealand coast as conservationists battle to prevent ecological disaster

Trying to STOP a potential disaster!! Daily

A race against time is taking place to extract oil from a massive container ship stranded in New Zealand due to concerns of a major ecological disaster.

The 775-foot Liberia-flagged 'Rena' struck the Astrolabe Reef about 12 nautical miles from Tauranga Harbour early on Wednesday, and has been foundering there since.

The ship has been leaking fuel, leading to fears of a major environmental disaster if it breaks up further.