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USGS CMG InfoBank: Strange Animals in an Alien Environment

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Comment: 23:28 - 25:01 (01:33)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 4. The Sea Floor
Keywords: "mid-oceanic ridge", "hot vent", submersible, Alvin, temperature, pressure, "tube worm", crab, "giant clam", bacteria, "hydrogen sulfide", "Tanya L. Atwater"

Our transcription: The most exciting adventure that we've had in the Submarine Alvin was the discovery and exploration of hot vents on the sea floor.
They range from just a little bit warm to outrageously hot, 350 degrees centigrade.
You know, ordinarily water would boil at 100 degrees centigrade, but the pressure's so high there that it doesn't boil, but it comes out extremely hot.
When it's a little bit cooler, there are lots of strange animals that live around there that have never been seen anywhere else, including really long tube worms with bright red flesh at the end.
There are crabs running all round eating everything else.
Giant claims like this with red flesh.
All those animals are living on the chemical energy that's in the water of the vents.
They have special bacteria that use the hydrogen sulfide; that's gas that poisons us if we get a tiny whiff.
They're using it and using it for its chemical energy and passing that down the food chain, so it's a totally different ecological situation then we're used to.
It's so exciting to see a living thing in such an alien environment.
They're really bizarre; really bizarre.
These weird and wondrous denizens of the deep are the only examples of life which get their entire supply of energy and warmth from the interior of the Earth itself.
They live kilometers beneath the ocean surface in a world as alien as any encountered in outer space.

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