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Volcanoes of the Deep

Program Overview


NOVA follows a team of scientists as they journey to the Juan de Fuca Ridge in the Pacific Ocean to study and raise hydrothermal vent structures from the ocean floor.

The program:

  • shows how JASON—a small robot with video cameras, sonar imaging tools and lights—collects data about the smokers. Engineers use three-dimensional images generated from the data to design equipment that will capture, cut and haul four of the structures.

  • reviews the process by which "black smoker chimneys"—chimneylike structures around hydrothermal vents—form.

  • explains how biologists study organisms that live on and near the smokers, and speculates about clues the organisms might hold regarding how life originated on Earth.

  • details the recovery plan and successful raising of the four chimneys to the surface.

Map of world, with JDF Ridge designated

Teacher's Guide
Volcanoes of the Deep
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