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Extreme Life and Environments


The black smoker known as Dante. It’s a volcanic vent releasing superheated water, hot gases and minerals in the Juan de Fuca underwater mountain range off the coast of Washington State. Each vent is known by the color of its discharge or “smoke” plus a unique name given by the scientists who must navigate in the pitch dark on the ocean floor in a 7-foot diameter submersible. Black smokers are releasing a lot of iron from the Earsuch locations to aid navigation. Credit: James Holden/UMass

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