Oases for Life in Distant Oceans: On Earth and Beyond?

EAS Fall 2017 Seminar Speaker Series Presents:  Dr, Chris German, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

This talk will focus on how a series of continuously evolving science questions, spanning from geophysics to biogeography to astrobiology, have motivated a sustained body of work to explore the ocean floor for submarine venting.  

Seafloor hydrothermal activity is now known to occur in all ocean basins and at all spreading rates.  While early work suggested that most venting should coincide with where the most magmatic activity occurs, along Earth’s fastest spreading sections of Mid-Ocean Ridge, I will show how continuing robotics-based exploration of Earth’s slower spreading ridges have revealed a greater geologic diversity of conditions for seafloor fluid flow than previously anticipated, with societal relevance ranging from the future of seafloor mining to the prospects for habitability of other Ocean Worlds.  

I will close with a discussion of future directions – both scientific (where else might life-sustaining seafloor fluid flow arise?) and technologic (what new methodologies might one might employ, blending autonomy with humans-in-the-loop, via telepresence?).

Event Details


  • Thursday, September 28, 2017
    11:00 am - 11:50 am
Location: Ford Environmental Science & Technology Bldg, Rm. 1205
Phone: 404-894-1757
Fee(s): Free

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