Lost City Discovered Teeming with Life in the Depths of the Atlantic Ocean
The idea of a lost city hidden beneath the waves has long captured the imagination of people. From the myths of Atlantis to countless other legends, the allure of what lies within our oceans has fascinated humanity for centuries. And now, scientists have made an incredible discovery that may rival the myths of old – a real Lost City located hundreds of meters below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.
The “Lost City,” as it has been dubbed, is a rocky, towering landscape located west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge mountain range. Consisting of massive walls, columns, and monoliths stretching more than 60 meters tall, this underwater marvel is a sight to behold. Discovered in the year 2000, it is not the home of some long-forgotten human civilization, but its existence is no less significant.
The hydrothermal field, as it is known, is the longest-lived venting environment known in the ocean. According to Science Alert, nothing else like it has ever been found on Earth, and experts believe that it could offer insight into ecosystems that may exist elsewhere in the universe.
For more than 120,000 years, a diverse array of marine life, including snails, crustaceans, and microbial communities, have thrived off the field’s vents, which spout out hydrogen, methane, and other dissolved gases into the surrounding water. In this extreme environment, larger animals such as crabs, shrimps, and eels also manage to survive, despite the absence of oxygen. The hydrocarbons produced by its vents were not created by sunlight or carbon dioxide, but by chemical reactions way down on the seafloor, shedding light on how life on our planet may have originated and how it could be formed on others.
Microbiologist William Brazelton told The Smithsonian in 2018 that the “Lost City” could be an example of the type of ecosystem that could be active on moons such as Enceladus or Europa, and perhaps even on Mars in the past.
Named after the Greek god of the sea, the tallest monolith in the Lost City, Poseidon, measures over 60 meters in height. Meanwhile, just northeast of the tower, a cliffside “weeps” with fluid, producing clusters of delicate, multi-pronged carbonate growths that extend outward like the fingers of upturned hands, according to researchers at the University of Washington.
As calls for the Lost City to be listed as a World Heritage Site grow, concerns have also been raised about its protection. Poland’s rights to mine the deep sea around the thermal field in 2018 have led to fears about the potential unintended consequences of such activities on the fragile ecosystem.
The discovery of the “Lost City” is an extraordinary reminder of the mysteries that still lie hidden beneath our oceans and the importance of protecting these precious natural wonders.