Home » The stage of life deep under the sea in the deep sea cold seep area – China News Service

The stage of life deep under the sea in the deep sea cold seep area – China News Service

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Deep Sea Cold Springs: A Treasure Trove of Life

The ongoing exploration of the deep sea has revealed the presence of a unique natural wonder – flammable ice, also known as combustible ice. This methane hydrate is tightly embraced by water molecules under extreme cold and pressure, forming shining ice crystals that resemble the condensation of cosmic dust. This discovery has given birth to the deep sea cold spring area, a stage of life that is beyond anything science fiction could imagine. The chemical magicians inside the earth, hydrogen sulfide and methane, host a splendid energy feast for the residents of the deep sea.

This isolated underwater kingdom is home to unusual residents – chemosynthetic microorganisms that do not rely on sunlight but thrive under the magic of chemical reactions. The diversity of life in this unique ecosystem challenges our traditional understanding of where life can exist. The cold spring areas in the South China Sea provide a perfect “natural laboratory” for scientists to delve into the depth of the cold seep ecosystem and its profound impact on the earth’s environment.

A team from the Institute of Oceanography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, has made remarkable achievements in the field of deep-sea extreme environment detection. The long-term operation of the deep-sea in-situ monitoring system developed by the scientific research team in the cold seep area of the South China Sea not only marks the progress of China’s deep-sea research but also provides precious insights and data to the global scientific community. With the help of this in-situ laboratory, the scientific research team has made revolutionary breakthroughs, revealing the secrets of how deep-sea ecosystems respond to energy fluctuations and providing a deeper understanding of the stability of the methane cycle and the effect of cold seeps on their environment.

However, combustible ice, the hero of the deep sea cold spring area, also poses a threat. The potential for large amounts of methane escaping into the atmosphere could trigger a global climate crisis. Yet, this villainous nature does not diminish the importance of exploration and understanding. By carefully balancing the benefits and risks of combustible ice, scientists are paving the way for developing sustainable energy and managing the carbon cycle.

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The research team has worked tirelessly to innovate and develop groundbreaking technologies that have broadened our understanding of deep-sea ecosystems. They have not only explored the mysteries of deep-sea cold spring ecology but also have delved into the key role of flammable ice in controlling the global carbon balance and affecting climate change. Understanding combustible ice is crucial for us to face global climate change, protect the environment, and advance the process of sustainable energy.

Zhang Xiong and Zhang Xin, doctoral candidates and researchers at the Institute of Oceanography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, are leading the way in unlocking the secrets of the deep sea. Their tireless efforts and groundbreaking work will continue to shed light on the mysteries of the deep sea and the potential of combustible ice for sustainable energy in the future.

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