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A mile and a half beneath the sea off the Pacific Northwest coast, a volcanic ridge has given birth to towering structures that spew toxic, superheated water. The structures, known as black smoker chimneys, are home to bizarre life forms that thrive far beyond the reach of the sun's light. Follow the daring attempt of an ambitious expedition to retrieve several of these black smokers from the seafloor, as chronicled on this Web site and in the NOVA program "Volcanoes of the Deep." (Note: the real-time component of this site occurred in June and July 1998.)

Photos: (1,4) NOVA; (2) IFREMER; (3) NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.

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