The abyssal crazy world

As part of the “Abyss” group, we might wonder what things look like down there, in the deep ocean. As you probably already experienced, diving in water comes with (uncomfortable) changes of temperature and pressure. And that’s only a few meters! The conditions keep changing going deeper in the water column (more than freezing toes!). In oceans, the abyssal waters represent the part lying between 2000 m and 6000 m under sea level. At these depths, the temperature is constant around 0-4°C, the pressure is up to 200-600 atmospheres, and there is no light. And light is not only useful to see around but it is also the energy for photosynthesis and hence life sustenance at the surface of the Earth. Yet, although very poorly known, these depths allow life to exist. And what comes out of discoveries is sometimes very interesting or unexpected!

Life has to adapt to these difficult conditions of low temperature, high pressure, absence of light and scarcity of nutrients. The result is not exactly what we are used to, evolution sometimes leads to cool physical and morphological features! Let’s have a look at some inhabitants of the abysses.

Beyond 100 m in the dark cold water, plants disappear, life in the deep sea is 100% animal, likely because photosynthesis is impossible. With disappearance of light at depth, numerous species evolved to be blind or, conversely, grew big, globular eyes in the attempt to catch any remaining light like our very cute friend in Figure 1.

VB_Figure1
Figure 1: The extreme growth of the eyes allows the capture of every bit of light! http://www.astronoo.com/en/articles/bioluminescence.html

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Fieldwork, the backstage

In the last two centuries, geologists devoted a lot of time and energy to extensive field studies, aiming to understand the evolution of Earth. Direct observation in the field of structures and relationships between different types of lithologies, units of rock determined by physical characteristics and composition, provide geologists with important information on the formation and shaping of our planet. Field geologists can expect plenty of time outdoors. A field geologist is a very curious person and from the start of their career will have an innate will to spend time in direct contact with nature. This inevitable feeling, also known as nature fever, often evolves into a need for scientific discovery. The more a geologist goes into the field, the more he needs to spend time in the field in the future.

Releasing pressure on the rock. A big hammer doesn’t break your back but breaks hard rocks. However, Val, safety first!
Releasing pressure on the rock. A big hammer doesn’t break your back but breaks hard rocks. However, Val, safety first!

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