Monday, September 7, 2009
The Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents Marine Protected Area off the coast of Vancouver Island covers a unique deep water ecosystem.
Located 250 kilometres southwest of Vancouver Island and 2250 metres below the ocean surface, the vents are part of the Juan de Fuca Ridge system, an active seafloor-spreading zone. At the vents cold sea water is heated by molten lava, emerging through the seafloor as plumes of particle-rich, superheated water.
Deep ocean areas normally have sparse marine animal abundance, but in the vent flows, abundances can range up to half a million marine animals per square metre.