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Mining Deep Sea Vents Could Put Precious Ecosystems At Risk

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The deep sea is one of the least understood places on Earth. Among its oddities are hydrothermal vents, cracks in the seafloor that pump out scaldingly hot water and form massive chimneys teeming with weird microbial life.

What we do know about this mysterious ecosystem is that there are enormous deposits of rare earth minerals down there, including tellurium, cadmium, lithium, zinc, and cobalt. These minerals are used to produce technology such as cell phones and renewable energy as well as cancer treatment drugs. Our future hinges on them.

Right now, the mineral content of these hydrothermal vents is untapped with all rare earth mining taking place above the ocean waves on land. But with demand for these technologies increasing, countries around the world are lining up to begin extracting these precious minerals from the seafloor, including from the striking vents.

Hydrothermal vents mark the cracks in the seafloor where tectonic plates spread apart and hot magma poured out, forming new seafloor and creating giant, chimney-like openings which spew out hot water. That water is full of minerals pulled from deep beneath the seafloor, which solidify when they hit the cold water of the deep sea. That means the vents’ mineral contents are significant. Scientists believe just one vent could provide enough zinc to supply the entire country of Japan’s demand for a year. The ecological impacts of extracting all these elements, however, is poorly understood. That’s especially true of inactive vents that have ridden the tectonic plates away from the magma-heated water, which are even less studied than active ones.

The tectonic plates are, of course, in motion. As they move, they eventually push active vents further away from the spaces between the plates, depriving them of super heated water. That’s when they become inactive.

The studies that have been done on the impacts of deep sea mining show that it could seriously threaten biodiversity and disturb microbes that sequester greenhouse gases like carbon and methane, which could potentially have negative consequences for the climate crisis. Scientists have also found that if the regions are dredged up for minerals, they may not recover for millions of years.

Last year, a team of scientists with Sylvan Geomicrobiology Lab’s Hot2Cold Vents exploration project boarded a submarine and journeyed to the bottom of the ocean to learn more about the unique formations. Jason Sylvan, a principal investigator on the project and microbiologist at Texas A&M University, focused his research on inactive vents.

“[Inactive vents] are the types of systems where there is an interest in seafloor mining because of the high amounts of metals that are present,” he said. “They’re kind of of interest for targeting because they’re thought to be less likely to contain unique biology, but the truth is we just haven’t studied them very much at all.”

Sylvan and his colleagues collected footage and data of the deep sea wonders to better understand how they change as they become inactive, and determine how quickly they could recover from mineral extraction. He found that understanding the processes is complicated, because mining one vent could have implications for other ones, too.

“The connectivity in the subsurface between these different sites—so more or less the plumbing underneath the sciences—is very difficult to study and so not super well understood,” he said.

Until researchers learn enough about the complex vents on the bottom of the oceans, Sylvan says he’d recommend companies stay away from mineral extraction down there. And he’s not alone—proposed deep sea mining projects have been cancelled due in part to environmental concerns.

“I would say I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said.

Source : Gizmodo Read More

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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